by Mike Monroe
When Matt Bonner got a look at the box score from the Spurs’ 110-99 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at the AT&T Center on Wednesday night, he couldn’t believe his eyes.
“I was pretty shocked when it said I only played 23 minutes,” the 30-year-old veteran of seven Spurs seasons said. “It felt like I played 42 or 43 minutes.”
In fact, Bonner played 23 minutes and 28 seconds, but it may have felt like he played a lot longer because slightly more than 15 minutes of his court time came in the second half. That’s when the Spurs overcame an eight-point deficit to become the second NBA team to reach 15 wins.
Just as shocking: It wasn’t Bonner’s shooting that kept him on the floor. In fact, he remained in the game despite making only 2 of 7 shots because he grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds and helped shut out Milwaukee’s Ersan Ilyasova in the second half after Ilyasova torched the Spurs for 17 first-half points.
“It was one of those nights where the ball was bouncing my way,” Bonner said. “I come into every game trying to do whatever I can to try and help the team win.
“Usually, hopefully, a lot of that has to do with knocking down shots. Tonight wasn’t one of those nights, so it was great to be able to do a good job on the glass and play hard on defense and get us going.”
The key to limiting Ilyasova was a change in defensive approach.
“Obviously, we weren’t ready for him at the beginning of the game,” Bonner said. “We had to make a few adjustments in order to take away his outside shot. It had mostly to do with pick and roll defense; kind of a quick hedge and get back to him quicker so he didn’t have as much room to operate.” Stern’s suggestion:
Commissioner David Stern spoke with reporters before Wednesday’s Lakers-Hornets game in New Orleans and fielded some questions about the $250,000 fine he handed the Spurs for resting Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Danny Green against the Heat a week ago.
Stern defended his action and hinted that he might have intervened to prevent the benchings had the Spurs informed him of their intent before sending the players home from Orlando.
“The beauty of that is I don’t know,” Stern said. “It depends. I said it’s the totality of the circumstances.
“I would suggest to you if we had been notified it wouldn’t have happened. So maybe from their perspective they did the right thing, but not from mine.”
Stern told reporters that coaches should have the authority to rest players at the end of the season, but not this early. Spurs Nation