Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

A Controversial Rest, a Fine and a Team Renewed ; San Antonio Coach Says He Doesn't Regret Giving His 3 Stars a Game Off

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

A Controversial Rest, a Fine and a Team Renewed ; San Antonio Coach Says He Doesn't Regret Giving His 3 Stars a Game Off

Article excerpt

Since Coach Gregg Popovich gave his three stars a game off, resulting in a $250,000 fine, they have led the San Antonio Spurs to 12 wins in 16 games.

On the first play of the second half of the San Antonio Spurs' blowout victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night, coach Gregg Popovich ran a play that had Deron Williams chasing Tony Parker around a Tim Duncan screen, only for Parker to turn and reroute Williams around Duncan again. Duncan scored on a short bank shot off a feed from Parker, who had exploited the Nets' defense throughout the first half.

The Spurs took off from there, extending their lead to 33 points after three quarters from eight at halftime on the way to their sixth victory in a row, 104-73.

Once again, San Antonio is flying high with its veteran Big Three of Parker, Duncan and Manu Ginobili leading the way, and again the Spurs are in the midst of a challenging stretch during which they will play six games in nine days, including four in five nights.

That raises an obvious question: Will Popovich be inclined to rest his aging stars again?

At the end of November, he drew national attention by resting four of his top players -- the Big Three and Danny Green -- for a nationally televised matchup in Miami against the Heat, even flying them back to San Antonio before the game was played. The Spurs were fined $250,000 by the National Basketball Association commissioner, David Stern, who said they had done a "disservice to the league and our fans."

Despite the punishment, Popovich made clear that he did not regret having given his players a game off and said that he might do it again.

"I'm just going to do what I've been doing for 16, 17 years, whatever it is," Popovich said before the Spurs' victory over Dallas on Sunday. …

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