by Kolby Solinsky
Editor, White Cover Magazine
On Thursday night, the San Antonio Spurs lost a tight one to Miami. 105-100, and they kept it close without Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Danny Green, or Manu Ginobili. The thought on most peoples’ minds, of course, is why they had to fight that fight without their best warriors, and — most importantly — why they had to flirt with David Stern’s bad side during what has to be their biggest, most marquee of marquee matchups in 2012.
“I apologize to all NBA fans,” said the Commish. “This was an unacceptable decision by the San Antonio Spurs and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming.”
The Spurs have been on a bit of a road trip lately, and coach Gregg Popovich said he sat the Big Three (and Green) because of fatigue.
But, make no mistake… it can’t be pure coincidence — unfortunate coincidence — that it was tonight. It had to have been intentional. Pop’s a smart guy. He knows his schedule, and he knows who’s going to watch which games. This wasn’t San Antonio v. Portland. This was the Heat. LeBron, Wade, and Bosh. Allen, too.
So, when David Stern says sanctions are coming San Antonio’s way, you can’t feel bad for them. They knew it was coming and, if they didn’t, that’s their own fault.
“Everybody has to make decisions about their schedule, about players playing and back-to-backs and trips and that sort of thing,” said Pop, and quoted by FOX Sports. “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 night here. I think it’d be unwise to be playing our guys in that kind of a situation, given their history.”
Listen, we get it.
It’s tough being a team that gets shafted, and mostly to the delight of teams like the Bulls, Knicks, and Celtics. They’re on the East Coast. They can drive to their away games. But, San Antonio? It sucks, of course. (I know. I’m a Vancouver Canucks fan.)
Still, every team has different hardships. Some have injuries. Some have schedules. Some have sexually transmitted diseases. It happens. But, you still have to play. You still have to put your best roster on the court.
If Pop was defending and helping his players, then good on him. You can’t call him anything but loyal.
It still doesn’t mean he — and the Spurs — should go unpunished.
“I’ve gotten letters from those people before when I’ve done it and I understand their perspective totally,” said the coach. “If I was taking my six-year-old son or daughter to the game, I’d want him or her to see everybody.
“And, if they weren’t there, I’d be disappointed. So, I understand that perspective. Hopefully, people in that position will understand my perspective, what my priority is: the basketball team and what’s best for it.”
Pop’s biggest problem here is that his explanation and his logic are completely sound. He makes sense. Again, he’s a smart guy.
But, that’s not going to help him when Stern’s deciding how to handle it.
It’s only going to show that he knew exactly what he was doing and that he was completely able to anticipate what’s going to happen.