Commissioner riled by Spurs move to rest top players
(Reuters) - NBA Commissioner David Stern vowed to punish the San Antonio Spurs for sending Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green home early rather than play in Miami on Thursday against NBA champion Heat.
Despite missing several top players, the Spurs nearly shocked the Heat in the nationally televised game, leading 98-93 with 2:14 left, before Miami's big guns went on a 12-2 run to claim a 105-100 victory.
Miami improved to 11-3 and the Spurs slipped to 13-4.
With the second-placed Spurs set to take on Southwest Division-leading Memphis Grizzlies in San Antonio on Saturday, coach Gregg Popovich decided his group of veterans could use an extra day of rest at home after their hectic road stretch.
Stern lashed out at the move.
"I apologize to all NBA fans," Stern said in a statement. "This was an unacceptable decision by the San Antonio Spurs and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming."
The Spurs, who had won the first five games of their six-game road trip ending in Miami, were left with just nine active players against the Heat but gave Miami all they could handle.
"Everybody has to make decisions about their schedule, about players playing and back-to-backs and trips and that sort of thing," Popovich told reporters before the game.
"In our case, this month we've had 11 away games, after tonight. We've had an eight-day trip and a 10-day trip, and we're ending it with four (games) in five nights here. I think it'd be unwise to be playing our guys..." Continued...