So that’s what $250,000 worth of rest looks like.
Tony Parker scored 30 points and Tim Duncan had 27 points and 15 rebounds, giving the Spurs their money’s worth for the unprecedented fine from the NBA they soaked up for putting rest over the league’s business interests in a 99-95 overtime triumph over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sat. night.
Coach Gregg Popovich recounted before the victory he was ”disappointed” by the $250,000 fine levied by Commissioner David Stern after the Spurs sent Parker, Duncan and Manu Ginobili – three of the NBA’s largest names – home from a road trip early instead of playing them against LeBron James and the Heat on Thursday in a nationally televised game.
This might ease his frustration. Because chances are Popovich was not second-guessing his decision while watching the 36-year-old Duncan put up his best game this season, Parker eclipsing 30 points for the 3rd time in 5 games and Ginobili sinking the tying 3-pointer with under a minute left to force overtime.
Parker mentioned afterward – maybe not coincidentally – that the two days off made him feel just like he had ”a lot of energy” in the extra period.
”We surely always have Pop’s back. Me, personally I actually appreciate what he’s done for my career,” Parker said. ”Because of him, I have been playing so many years and all those summers with the national team because he’s always protecting me. Timmy’s the same way and Manu is the same way.” Football betting lines
He then added how he wanted to win this one for his coach.
”I definitely felt like it was for Pop,” Parker claimed. ”I wanted to be super aggressive and win the game.”
Marc Gasol led Memphis with 20 points. Zach Randolph had 17 points and 15 rebounds and was one of three Memphis players with double-doubles.
Mike Conley had 18 points and 12 assists, and Rudy Gay had 15 points and 10 rebounds.
While the San Antonio’ Big Three was refreshed from a couple of days off, Memphis was playing the 2nd half of a back-to-back.
”We don’t use any excuses here,” Conley asserted. ”We felt like we had an opportunity to win the game with no regard for back-to-back or resting. We felt like we had an opportunity to win.”
Popovich related he doesn’t know if the Spurs will appeal. He also failed to rule out sitting out players again in the future. Succinctly addressing the fine before the game, he claimed the decision shows the NBA thinking about its bottom line and did not explain on conversations with the league before the penalty came down Friday.
”What I do from my perspective is from a coaching perspective,” Popovich said. ”And I think the league operates from a business point of view. And I think that’s reflective in the action that they took.”
The Grizzlies played without Tony Allen for a 2nd straight game due to an injured groin. It’s uncertain when their starting shooting guard may return.
On Thursday, Popovich put his Big Three and starter Danny Green on a plane and sent them home. It came at the end of a 6-game trip and after the Spurs had played five times in a week, and Popovich justified his decision by saying he didn’t want to subject them to so much wear-and-tear this early in the season.