The San Antonio Spurs are riding high and withstood a 38-point barrage from the newest Rocket sensation guard Jeremy Lin while PG Tony Parker secured the first triple double of his career with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists.
”I’m thankful that I was able to get comfortable out there,” Lin said. “But that’s definitely secondary to the fact that we blew another close game. I had the ball to win it and didn’t even get a shot up. That one hurt.”
Gary Neal also had a productive night finishing with 29-points shooting 11-18 and 7-10 from the 3-point line.
”Gary was unbelievable,” Parker said. ”He made some big shots for us. He was the one who kept us in the game with timely 3s, very timely 3s in the fourth quarter and in overtime.”
The Spurs next face the streaking Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. The Jazz have won three of their last five games while the Spurs have not lost in December.
The next home game for the Spurs will be against the Boston Celtics Saturday December 15th. Be sure to get your tickets soon!
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.
The San Antonio Spurs will are facing a tough week with the surging, well sprouting LA Lakers Tuesday followed up by the seriously surging NY Knicks.
The Lakers are rolling into town with Bernie Bickerstaff as the interim head coach but the world already knows that Mike D’ Antoni has been hired on to replace him once D’ Antoni has fully recovered from reconstructive knee surgery.
The Spurs (6-1) are coming off a Saturday night 112-109 victory over the Portland Trailblazers where Gary Neal came off the bench to score 27 points (20 in the second half) and the Spurs climbed out from under a 14-point deficit. Duncan was his usual effective 22 points, nine rebounds self.
”He carried us on his back,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said about Neal. ”Sometimes a player will do that, and he picked a good time for it.”
The Lakers (3-4) are also coming off a victory over the Sacramento Kings 103-90 where Dwight Howard had 23 points and 18 rebounds and Kobe kicked in 20 points all before they knew that Mike D’Antoni was their new leader.
”My job is to coach the team until they ring the bell,” Bickerstaff said. ”But listen. What’s the reality here? I mean, we all know what’s going on and I understand that. But I consented to do this for the organization, and I’m not worried about the big picture.”
Spurs at the Lakers Tuesday night 10:30 pm Eastern Standard time.
Be sure to get your tickets to see the Spurs take on the Knicks at the AT&T Center Thursday night.