Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Did Gregg Popovich sit his stars against the Heat on Thursday as a big middle finger to David Stern? Did he sit them to avoid early season fatigue? Or is he simply looking out for the best interests of the Spurs?
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich caused a bit of a stur on Thursday when he decided to sit a group of big-name players during a game against the Miami Heat, the second game of a back-to-back. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green all sat out against the defending champions. He got threatened with sanctions from David Stern after making the move, even though the game ended up being a close 105-100 affair anyway.
After it was announced that Popovich would be sitting his star players, questions were raised regarding his motives. Early season fatigue avoidance due to a brutal schedule was thrown around as a reason, and in a slightly more fanciful fashion it was posited that he might just be doing it to spurn David Stern during a game on TNT.
For their part, Spurs blog Pounding The Rock just thinks that it was a move to look out for the welfare of his best players during a long stretch of games, and had nothing to do with the opponent they happened to be facing:
Pop would have made this decision regardless of which opponent was on the schedule, or which television company was carrying the game. That's not what this is about and it never has been. If it was evident that Popovich was out for revenge, or if it was obvious that he was only trying to make a point, then yes, calling Popovich petulant might be fair.
San Antonio will play its next game, most likely with the four players back on the roster, Saturday against the Memphis Grizzlies.