Official Grizzlies at Spurs Game Thread (7:30)
TV: KENS (Austin) KBVO
Memphis (12 - 2)
San Antonio (13 - 4)
By JEFF BARTL
(AP) -- San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich made a seemingly logical decision to sit four of his top players at the end of a six-game road trip to better prepare for a showdown with the Memphis Grizzlies.
The organization now has a lighter wallet because of it.
Despite NBA commissioner David Stern's controversial penalty, San Antonio's core will be well-rested Saturday night when it hosts surging Memphis.
After the Spurs (13-4) defeated Orlando on Wednesday, Popovich sent Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green home on a commercial flight to rest before the remainder of the team faced Miami in a nationally televised contest Thursday night.
"Everybody has to make decisions about their schedule, about players playing and back-to-backs and trips and that sort of thing," Popovich said. "In our case, this month we've had 11 away games. We've had an eight-day trip and a 10-day trip, and we're ending it with four (games) in five nights (in Miami). I think it'd be unwise to be playing our guys in that kind of a situation, given their history.
"Perhaps it'll give us an opportunity to stay on the court with Memphis on Saturday night."
Stern didn't agree, saying Popovich's decision was "unacceptable" and "contrary to the best interests of the NBA" while apologizing to the league's fans before Wednesday's game.
He fined the organization $250,000 on Thursday despite many around the league defending Popovich's decision.
"The result here is dictated by the totality of the facts in this case," Stern said. "The Spurs decided to make four of their top players unavailable for an early-season game that was the team's only regular-season visit to Miami. The team also did this without informing the Heat, the media, or the league office in a timely way."
San Antonio delivered a solid performance anyway, leading into the final minute of the fourth quarter before falling 105-100 to end a five-game winning streak.
Gary Neal scored 20 points off the bench while Matt Bonner added 10 and 10 rebounds.
"Oh, it would have been great if we won," Bonner said. "We have faith in everybody on our roster. We think we have one of the deepest teams in the league."
The Spurs haven't commented on the penalty and have seemed to turn their attention to the first meeting with the Grizzlies since sweeping last season's four-game season series.
Coach Lionel Hollins also didn't comment on Popovich's decision and the ensuing fine, but Memphis (12-2) seems more than prepared for the Southwest Division showdown after winning the final four of its five-game homestand with Friday's 90-78 victory over Detroit.
Rudy Gay finished with a game-high 18 points while Marc Gasol (11 rebounds) and Mike Conley scored 17 apiece.
"We played a lot of good teams in this homestand, and in the last few weeks," Conley said. "For us to get this win, is huge for what we stand for, and that's just one game at a time and being ready for each individual opponent."
Memphis tied a season best for points allowed and ranks first in the NBA defensively, yielding 90.1 per game.
"I'm happy we were ahead and our defense was still strong," Hollins said.
The Grizzlies have won four straight on the road since a season-opening loss at the Los Angeles Clippers, but they've dropped 14 of their last 15 regular-season games in San Antonio.
Duncan scored 28 points and added 12 rebounds in the Spurs' 107-97 home victory in the most recent meeting April 12
whats gonna be hilarious is if , now that miami game is lost.... we come in and get blown out or even jst lose to memphis... so much for resting then?
lotta pressure this game to win if pop doesn't wanna look like a chump
Spurs Come Together and play a GREAT GAME at HOME SWEET HOME!!!!!
Not an easy win, a Physical Battle Spurs will be tested!!!!
Tony vs. Conley is going to be an interesting match up I am looking forward to.
Spurs TEAM D & Hustle wins!!!!
With Memphis playing at such a high level. And Spurs coming of a Loss in Miami, Spurs Win this one convincingly!
This game could has Playoff atmosphere all over it.....
Spurs 109 :rock
*Look for Pop to get a STANDING OVATION like David Chancelor(sp?)said on Channel 4 TV last night!*
Not that they don't have enough insentive from the Grizz being Division Leaders.
I don't see them winning this game. Still missing KY and Ghetto Superstar. Memphis playing great defense. They are going to suffocate Manu and Tony.
Hmm Spurs just assigned Corey Joseph back to the Toros. I wonder who will play tonight!
REFS for the Game tonight!!!!
We can breath and hope the BEST team wins (Spurs) No Joe Carawford you all!
FYI, injury report has Tony Allen questionnable for Memphis. If the Spurs can muzzle Zach Randolph, they could win by a bigger margin. But Zach loves to play against SA and we have not yet found a way to stop him, especially with Capt Jack out. But I think we can still squeak one out.
I think the Spurs will focus on this with intensity and pull this one easily! 105-93
Great game , Spurs can put the Grizz behind them in this one.
Gadzooks!! I was jumping up and down so much after the Spurs had taken the lead in the final minutes that I completely forgot what I had put down. I guess that's about as good as I'm going to do for the rest of the season, probably should quit while I'm almost ahead. Thanks, Eddy.
What a BRILLIANT idea from Pop to insert Bonner and Mills and Nando at the right time.
Those Three KEY SPARKS from the Bench ignited the game momentum back to Spurs and then the starters came back with the same energy and Closed!!!!
Give Pop and the Coaching staff a lot of credit for key adjustments and substituting and drawings at the end!!:applause
Tim Duncan Did an AMAZING job. Great Determination!!! Great D! The Greatest Tim EVER! Frustrated the heck out of Grizzs! :D
Tony Parker was the MVP no question in this game. I am so glad Pop gave him a Breather because I am praying somehow TP gets some rest... Tony carried the Spurs in such crucial moments and nailed his free throws to seal the game at the end. He showed such a great poise and he was incredible!! Thanks Tone! :)
I knew Manu would come back to life and shoot some Great Key shots and he did it at the end!!!! despite his struggles he showed us Great Defense and Great HUSTLES that don't show on stat sheet... Manu is RELENTLESS and Manu has such a Killer instinct that never gives up. Nothing can stop Manu is he is DETERMINED! :)
Gary Neal came alive at some nice moments. I like what I saw from Gary. He is a Great Player for us. Few mistakes but he is a keeper.
Danny Green was not there mentally or physically. Hope he gets out of his funk soon...
Bonner surprised all of us with his great hustle play and key shots in the second half. I hope he can Maintain this in the PO because now he looks good, but we need this Bonner in the PO Bonner!
Mills, and De Colo were Fantastic Sparks!!
Hope Spurs rest up well before Milwaukee next Wednesday!
Go Spurs Go!
I have to agree with you, ‘crazed. Our bench came through again, especially Mills, DeColo and Bonner, as you mentioned. They were ‘johnny on the spot’ with their play and got the Spurs back into their regular game mode. I particularly liked Bonner’s performance against Randolph, kept him off the boards and was in his face most of the 2nd half. Matt might have gotten away with a few body checks but what the hey, the refs seemed to be looking the other way on a lot of calls and let the teams play. Good timing by Pop and the coaches. With Leonard and Capt Jack returning in a couple weeks, I hope the aforementioned guys don’t get lost on the bench.
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