The San Antonio Spurs finished with the best record in the Western Conference last season, while the Heat finished second in the Eastern Conference. The two teams were set to face off Thursday night in a much anticipated prime-time game. However, the Spurs organization and head coach Greg Popovich had other plans. According to the San Antonio Express, the Spurs sat their best four players and only suited up nine players for the big game against the Heat.
Via the San Antonio Express News:
With the road miles piling up on his veteran team, the Spurs coach has dispatched four of his top five leading scorers home to San Antonio Tim Duncan, Tony Parker,Manu Ginobili and Danny Green did not travel with the team after Wednesday night’s win in Orlando, instead heading back to South Texas this morning for an extra day of rest leading up to Saturday’s sure-to-be-rugged home game against Memphis.
The four were spotted on a Southwest flight making a pre-lunch escape from central Florida.
The Spurs were also without Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson, who were out with injuries. Stern released a statement following the Spurs decision, saying, “I apologize to all NBA fans. This was an unacceptable decision by the San Antonio Spurs and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming.”
The Spurs started Matt Boner, Boris Diaw, Tiago Spitter, Nando De Colo and Patty Milly and only lost to the Heat by five points. FIVE! There’s probably more to be said about this, but it sounds like Stern’s making too much of the situation.
Here’s Pop interviewing with Barkley at halftime: