Spurs second/third team nearly beat defending champs

In a move that would not normally be scrutinized, Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich decided to send his big three plus one back home to San Antonio to rest up and prepare for the NBA leading Memphis Grizzlies.

But, with rare exception, NBA Commissioner David Stern took umbrage with Pop’s move and found it necessary to issue the following statement:

“I apologize to all N.B.A. fans.  This was an unacceptable decision by the San Antonio Spurs, and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming.”

For Popovich, it is all about strategy and the health of his team.

“Perhaps it’ll give us an opportunity to stay on the court with Memphis on Saturday night,” Popovich told reporters before the game. “Historically, when you’re on a long road trip, that first game when you come home is really tough. And Memphis is one of the best teams in the league. They’re of much more concern to us than playing four games in five nights. It’s pretty logical.”

While there was no intentional snub on Pop’s part, he must have known that the commissioner would not appreciate the move with only two NBA games scheduled Thursday night.  But, when Popovich did pretty much the same thing back in April against the Utah Jazz, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said the following:

“The strategic resting of particular players on particular nights is within the discretion of the teams.”

So whether or not the NBA decides to “sanction” the Spurs remains to be seen but it hardly matters to Pop as Gary Neal made this point.

“Coach Pop is the coach of the San Antonio Spurs, and he did what’s best for us.”

The Spurs face the Memphis Grizzlies on December 1st.



NBA weighs retroactive penalties for floppers

MIAMI — David Stern is determined to stop the floppers, even if it takes until the next morning.

The NBA commissioner and the league’s competition committee met Monday and had a discussion about players deceiving referees into calling fouls by falling down, or flopping.

Stern says one option could be a “postgame analysis” in which players could be penalized if it was determined he flopped. He says the league wants to find a way to “put a stake in the ground that says this is not something that we want to be part of our game.”

The committee also discussed expanding instant replay for flagrant fouls and goaltending, and seemed to favor leaving the away from the ball foul rule as is, so coaches could continue to foul bad free throw shooters.

Happy Thanksgiving from Spurs Nation!

This is the day for all of us to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for.

I hope everybody will have the opportunity to spend time with friends and family to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday.

And while you’re enjoying some more stuffing or an extra piece of pie, let’s pause for few moments to think about all of the sacrifices made by the brave men and women who are serving our country to help preserve our freedom.

For all of the military personnel out there who might read these missives, I appreciate all that you do for all of us.

Enjoy the football today. And let’s hope that the spirit of the holiday inspires David Stern and Billy Hunter to make some compromises and seal a new labor deal about the time that the Baltimore-San Francisco game starts tonight.

That would make it the best Thanksgiving of all — at least  for NBA fans.