After the NBA fined the Spurs $250,000 for resting four healthy starters for Thursday’s game in Miami against the defending champs, plenty of people weighed in on the decision.
Saturday night before the Spurs faced the Grizzlies, it was Gregg Popovich’s turn.
And while he didn’t use very strong words when explaining his feelings about the punishment handed down to his organization, he came out against it nonetheless.
From the Associated Press:
Speaking publicly for the first time since NBA commissioner David Stern handed down the stiff penalty Friday, the Spurs coach and team president said he was “disappointed” in the decision.
“What I do from my perspective is from a coaching perspective,” said Popovich before the Spurs defeated the Grizzlies 99-95 in overtime on Saturday night. “And I think the league operates from a business perspective. And I think that’s reflective in the action that they took.”
Popovich bristled when asked before Saturday night’s game against Memphis whether he might nonetheless do the same thing, as the NBA’s reigning coach of the year often does when posed with hypothetical questions. But he didn’t rule it out, either.
“I don’t have a crystal ball,” Popovich said.
We can all put this behind us for the time being, now that Popovich has made his decision, and David Stern countered with one of his own.
And yes — the Spurs came from down 13 after three quarters to beat a very good Grizzlies team, largely on the strength of those bench players that got quite a bit of experience playing against Miami’s starters on Thursday, under the national spotlight.
What Popovich did by resting healthy players for that game in Miami was wrong from the league’s perspective, for a variety of reasons. But it’s hard to argue with the team-specific results achieved on Saturday, which may or may not have been due in part to that decision.