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Friday, October 31, 2014

Should the Spurs Be Sanctioned For Resting Their Four Top Scorers?

Gregg Popovich rested his top four scorers tonight against the Miami Heat (Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green), sending them home to San Antonio to prepare for the Spurs’ next game against the Western Conference leading Memphis Grizzlies.

NBA Commissioner David Stern had this to say, “I apologize to all NBA fans. This was an unacceptable decision by the San Antonio Spurs and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming.”

Do you think Popovich’s actions should be punished?

Do you think Gregg Popovich should be punished for resting his top four scorers Thursday night?

  • No (82%, 291 Votes)
  • Yes (18%, 66 Votes)

Total Voters: 357

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30 comments on “Should the Spurs Be Sanctioned For Resting Their Four Top Scorers?

  1. jon abbey

    more of Stern way overstepping his boundaries, as if Popovich hasn’t proven he knows what’s best for his team. it shouldn’t even be a question.

  2. Brian Cronin

    Iggy with one of the worst ending shots I’ve seen to end the Nuggets/Warriors game. Dude, you have 0.6 seconds to shoot! How could you possibly think that you’d be able to double pump?!?

  3. Kurt

    David Stern has no right to be upset. It’s the fault of him and the owners for packing 82 games so tight with so many back to backs that Popovich would feel the need to do this. Considering that the season is so long yet so packed, it makes no sense that a coach should be forced to play his aging starters so that he’d be less likely to win a champion.

    Perfect proof for the hypocrisy: David Stern and the owners don’t seem to care about the degradation of “the product” when teams, especially veteran teams like our Knicks, play horribly on the second night of back to backs. Stern doesn’t seem to care, because the money is coming in for the game, and the lower level of play is too subtle for the casual fan to decide in advance to not buy tickets to such games. While I was driving, I heard a radio host complain about the fans who paid good money to go to a Spurs-Heat game. But what if Pop played his starters and, because they had such a tight schedule and Miami had a lot of rest, Duncan played poorly. Shouldn’t the fans be almost as upset?
    Heaven forbid the league reduce the number of games. The owners wouldn’t make as much money.

  4. Jenny

    I don’t think Pop should be punished or sanctioned. He has the right to play whatever players he wants to as coach. That’s what DNP-CDs are for. However, I do think the league has the right to stop giving the Spurs nationally televised games so that they can be sure that they have the best product on the court, complete with star power, for those big games. It’s part of the reason I think Spurs fans should stop complaining that they don’t get as much national attention as other contenders.

  5. Brian Cronin

    Also, the NBA is lucky that Denver didn’t win tonight’s game, since the refs completely blew the play where Iggy was fouled before shooting but the refs called it fouled in the act of shooting, leading to three free throws down three (he missed the last one but the Nuggets got the ball back with 0.6 seconds left). The call tonight on Iggy made the LJ continuation call in 1999 look like the best call ever in comparison.

  6. Brian Cronin

    Hehe, Simmons had a funny tweet about tonight’s game,

    Come on Spurs!!!!! Let’s do this for all the small schools that never had a chance to get here!!!!

  7. nicos

    I actually kind of support Stern on this one- it’s a nationally televised game and the NBA is a business that relies on TV money. I get that Pop knows what’s best for his team- though Danny Green really needed to be rested too?- but at the end of the day NBA>Spurs. You want to rest them, stagger their days off or at the very least rest them against the Magic. You’ve got a nationally televised marquee match-up, show up and play. The fact that the game was close is immaterial- give yourself (and the viewers) the best chance for a competitive game. It’s like a guy chucking up a million shots because he know scoring points will get him a bigger contract- it may be the best thing for him but it kills the team. What was best for the Spurs wasn’t what was best for the NBA and Stern has the right to step in.

  8. Brian Cronin

    I think the next time Pop should bench the Spurs “Big 3? is when they visit MSG.

    Agreed!

    Also, the next time Rondo punches a guy should be the game before they play the Knicks.

  9. Kurt

    But seriously, I think that in an ideal world, the season would either chop off 10 games from the season or spread out the regular season a little longer so that there would be no more back to backs. I don’t have a link but Truehoop discussed this a number of months ago.

    I’m too young to have watched the NBA in the 70’s and 80’s. But in the youtube clips I’ve seen, the games seem much less intense than they are now. In the youtube clips I’ve watched of the famed Celtics Lakers finals in the 80’s, the defense looked less intense than good defensive teams play on an average regular season night. Even if there was a lot of banging, players were nowhere near as strong or athletic as they are now. This means that playing defense for a good team is much more strenuous than it was in the 80’s. Since defenses are tougher, offenses have to work much harder to get points than they did in previous eras.

    Could someone who has watched 70’s and 80’s b-ball correct me if I’m wrong?

    If I’m right, just because the league used to play 82 games it doesn’t mean that its a good idea to keep it that way. It certainly doesn’t mean that today’s players are “less tough” than earlier generations.

    Another implication of more time between games (and the abolition of back to backs) is more practice time, which also creates more watchable basketball.

    In the case of football, teams prepare an entire week for a particular opponent and practice intricate plays all week. This also makes upsets more possible. Obviously, there should be more than 1 game a week, but I don’t think there should be more than 3.

  10. nicos

    Kurt:
    David Stern has no right to be upset. It’s the fault of him and the owners for packing 82 games so tight with so many back to backs that Popovich would feel the need to do this. Considering that the season is so long yet so packed, it makes no sense that a coach should be forced to play his aging starters so that he’d be less likely to win a champion.

    Perfect proof for the hypocrisy: David Stern and the owners don’t seem to care about the degradation of “the product” when teams, especially veteran teams like our Knicks, play horribly on the second night of back to backs. Stern doesn’t seem to care, because the money is coming in for the game, and the lower level of play is too subtle for the casual fan to decide in advance to not buy tickets to such games. While I was driving, I heard a radio host complain about the fans who paid good money to go to a Spurs-Heat game. But what if Pop played his starters and, because they had such a tight schedule and Miami had a lot of rest, Duncan played poorly. Shouldn’t the fans be almost as upset?
    Heaven forbid the league reduce the number of games. The owners wouldn’t make as much money.

    But there have always been back-to-backs. You make it sound like Stern is Simon Legree piling extra games on the players. Other than expanding the first round to seven games the NBA the NBA has stood pat since 1984 and has been playing 82 regular season games since 1967. I think you can make an argument for a shorter regular season but would that stop Pop from resting guys? Wouldn’t even more time off- say skipping a game gets you 5 days of rest instead of three- be even better for the older Spurs guys?

  11. mokers

    I think you can see it both ways. You have to love that Pop is out to do what is best for his team. On the other hand, I can see why the NBA and fans would be pissed. If I bought a ticket package based on seeing the Spurs or I am a spurs fan and this is my only chance to see them live, it would be terrible. I live in Oakland and I’ll spend for some good seats when the Knicks come to town. If it’s a weeknight, I may have to take time off of work to get to the arena in time or even get there early to watch the shoot around. If I did all that and found Woodson was sitting Melo, Chandler, Kidd and JR Smith, and didn’t even bring them to the arena, you bet I would be angry.

  12. thenoblefacehumper

    nicos:
    I actually kind of support Stern on this one- it’s a nationally televised game and the NBA is a business that relies on TV money.I get that Pop knows what’s best for his team- though Danny Green really needed to be rested too?- but at the end of the day NBA>Spurs.You want to rest them, stagger their days off or at the very least rest them against the Magic.You’ve got a nationally televised marquee match-up, show up and play.The fact that the game was close is immaterial- give yourself (and the viewers) the best chance for a competitive game.It’s like a guy chucking up a million shots because he know scoring points will get him a bigger contract- it may be the best thing for him but it kills the team.What was best for the Spurs wasn’t what was best for the NBA and Stern has the right to step in.

    But it’s not Pop’s responsibility to look out for the well being of the NBA. It’s just not part of his job. His job is to put the Spurs in the best possible position to win a championship, and he’s allowed to do anything within the rules to do that. He’s done a pretty damn good job of it in the past. I mean, what’s next, Stern mandating starters play a certain amount of minutes? This is just absolutely absurd to me.

  13. steveoh

    I don’t blame Pop. I blame the NBA.

    They put on a nationally televised game featuring a team is playing their fourth game in five nights, their sixth game of a road trip and has a big game on Saturday against Memphis.

    Here’s how the NBA solves that problem: Don’t put a team on national television that will be playing under those conditions.

  14. nicos

    thenoblefacehumper: But it’s not Pop’s responsibility to look out for the well being of the NBA. It’s just not part of his job. His job is to put the Spurs in the best possible position to win a championship, and he’s allowed to do anything within the rules to do that. He’s done a pretty damn good job of it in the past. I mean, what’s next, Stern mandating starters play a certain amount of minutes? This is just absolutely absurd to me.

    But it is Stern’s job to look out for the best interests of the NBA and if this kind of thing were to become a more common occurrence I think everyone would agree it would agree that it wouldn’t be good for the league. Nationally televised game- show up and play.

  15. nicos

    I’d also add (and hopefully without typos this time) that it is at least part of Pop’s responsibility to look out for the well-being of the NBA. The National TV deal is a big chunk of the NBA’s revenue- does one game in November make a difference? No, but have it happen three of four times during the course of a season and it might. If D’A were to decide to rest Nash, Kobe, and Gasol when they play the Knicks on Christmas day you can bet ABC would mention that fact when the next deal gets negotiated. I’m not Stern’s biggest fan but if a team is doing something that might be detrimental to the league’s bottom line he has the right to step in.

  16. slovene knick

    I think the solution were: a top seed does not meet a top seed on a back to back…
    They should add an if sentence like this in schedule algorithm: If a contender meets a contender on a back to back / on nat. TV /install >= 1 day rest prior=Teams rested/ABC airs a good product/much money/stern happy/pop happy/teams happy/we happy/we can meet was/sac/NO/Tor=shedzip on back to back;).

    We have 1 day rest on 24.12.12(like all teams in the league)before our next appearance on ABC. I hope they don’t blow that day like thanksgiving.Just hug and sing…no alcohol and senioritas….Looking at you Earl:))

  17. BigBlueAL

    It was kind of weak for the Spurs to be playing their 4th road game in 5 days while the Heat were playing their first game since Saturday.

  18. iserp

    I think this proves that the NBA is more about the money than about basketball.

    The regular season is a joke, the bottom third of the league is in a race for tanking, the top third are just resting their players and controlling they are not injured, and the middle third are universally mocked for not going to contend nor getting a high draft pick.

    If Stern cared about things like yesterday, he would worry about making a real regular league (less games, perhaps less playoffs spots); instead of fining the coach that really cares about basketball (and takes decisions that are the best for their team)

  19. Nick C.

    Maybe if the season didn’t run with playoffs from practically Halloween to the Fourth of July. Back in the day the finals were on by memorial day. With the Olympics in the summer is it any wonder. Stern needs to realize this is a competitive sports league not reality TV programming. I could go on and on about what a loathsome dictatorial smug cretin Stern is. Good riddance.

  20. Hubert Davis

    This all speaks to Stern’s ego. He thinks we watch basketball because he and his executives “created” stars and without these stars they gave us no one would watch. He can’t fathom the idea that people would watch a bunch of non-stars playing their ass off because we just love basketball. Accepting that means he’s not as important that he thinks he is. TNT probably loved the attention Pop brought that game. I know I only watched because of what was happening.

    Hell I’d recommend Woodson do it, too. Squad rotation is a heavy part of football (i.e. soccer) and it keeps teams fresh.

  21. Jenny

    Basketball is a competitive sport, but at the end of the day, it has to be a business too. Stern has the right to protect the interest of the business’ bottom line. The Spurs are not the only team that goes through back-to-backs or four games in five nights, but the Spurs are the only team that regularly sits their guys just to rest them. If the practice was more widespread across the league, it would be as big of a problem a some people find flopping to be. Like I said, Pop shouldn’t be sanctioned, but I probably wouldn’t nationally televise their games to avoid this issue on the national stage.

  22. Kurt

    Great points, Steveoh and iserp and Nick. If resting starters is such a concern regarding Spurs and nationally televised games, just don’t put the Spurs on TNT for the second night of a back to back.
    Regarding those who say Pop should care about nationally televised games for the benefit of the league, do we really expect a coach to check the tv listings for his team before every game to see if they’re nationally televised. Should he have a list of those games in his notebook to consult before making a decision? I’m sure pop’s reaction to such a suggestion would be pretty hilarious.
    Regarding those who say pop should play them a tiny bit less each game instead: he already plays Duncan and Ginobeli far less per game than any other coach plays his stars. I’m sure pop notices how resting his stars from back to backs helps more than playing them even less per game.

    Finally, I remember one time last year when he didn’t play Duncan on the second night of a back to back. Pop called it dnp-old. Hilarious!

  23. deadrody

    What do you mean no ? What’s best for the team ? That isn’t the point. How about what’s best for the people who payed good money for tickets to watch the game ?

    Or maybe we’ve forgotten that the NBA doesn’t actually exist without the people willing to pay to watch them play.

    Yes, the Spurs should be heavily fined for that move. Heavily enough to dissuade them from even thinking of it again.

  24. jon abbey

    THCJ, if you want a second game for your ‘sample’, when Popovich did the same thing last year, a mediocre at best Portland team beat them by 40.

  25. Z-man

    BigBlueAL:
    It was kind of weak for the Spurs to be playing their 4th road game in 5 days while the Heat were playing their first game since Saturday.

    BINGO!

    Stern did what he had to do, but I bet he got the message as well (or Silver did!)

  26. crazchino

    imo, stern did the right thing. customers paid for a product, and it was not delivered as advertised. pop did the right thing too tho. did what’s best for his team. can’t blame either for doing what they had to do. but to answer the poll question, here’s a +1 for stern.

  27. jon abbey

    crazchino:
    imo, stern did the right thing. customers paid for a product, and it was not delivered as advertised.

    oh, horseshit. what about the fans who bought tickets to Boston’s last two games and didn’t get to see Rondo who was healthy but suspended? did Stern offer refunds to any of them?

    as is almost always the case, Woj had the most thorough and insightful take on it:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nba–david-stern-stumbles-again-in-his-failed-culture-war-against-the-spurs-194828970.html

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