Pop's bold move and Stern's harsh reaction
Oh, that zany Gregg Popovich.
In case you missed it, Pop sent Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Danny Green home before the Spur game in Miami for no reason other than to give them a night off to rest and recuperate at the end of a long road trip.
It is disrespectful of the game, the opponent, the paying customers to pull such a prank.
There is a covenant between franchises and the people from whom they take money: You give us a lot of cash and we will entertain you; athletes are as much performers as athletes and I honestly think teams owe best efforts every night. It’s basically cheating the people to do otherwise.
But it’s not like Pop hasn’t done this before and, truth be told, I can see his point at some low level. He has to do what he thinks is best for his franchise and if we’ve come to learn anything about Popovich over the years, it’s that he doesn’t give a rat’s ass what people think.
Now, we can debate whether a night off in November will have any consequences in April, May or June – I’m quite dubious of that – and the Spurs did take the Heat to the final seconds before losing so the game turned out to be quite entertaining.
Was Popovich right to do what he did? I don’t think so. But there is a “plausible basketball rationale” for sitting four starters, I guess.
However, it was David Stern’s rather harsh rebuke – “I apologize to all NBA fans. This was an unacceptable decision by the San Antonio Spurs and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming” – that got me.
While it is entirely within his purview to levy fines and if he’s ticked off there’s no reason not to let people know but I’m wondering why now?
Where was he when the Heat were taking “maintenance” days for their best players down the stretch of last season?
Where was he on other nights in other seasons when Pop gave his best players the night off for no reason? Remember the night in Toronto when Duncan didn’t play, a move chalked up to DNP-Old in the boxscore?
Where’s the commissioner late in every season when teams blatantly tank games, an egregious slap in the face of fans who paid money to see games.
But maybe that’s it?
Maybe, since there is no appetite to change the format for determining lottery odds, Stern is firing an early-season shot across the bow of all 30 teams, a very public warning that tanking games late in the season will not be tolerated.
I don’t know that to be true but I can see it being a small bit of the reasoning for all of a sudden coming out and publicly rebuking an organization that’s done almost exactly the same thing with no repercussions in the past.
Now I find out this has been National Peanut Butter month?
We all know these salient facts about peanut butter, which is often the snack sandwich of choice around Casa Doug.
It should be smooth, not crunchy.
It shall be eaten on bread, not toast or crackers.
And it should be eaten on its own, not encumbered by jam or bananas or even butter or margarine on the bread.
I’m right, right?
Yes, Mickael Pietrus (and I apologize now for the number of times I will type his first name incorrectly in the future) will officially sign his new deal with the Raptors today; the second that Dom McGuire clears waivers and there’s a roster spot for him.
I don’t know if he’ll be in uniform tonight – I would suspect yes – but no, he will not make a major difference. He is, however, an upgrade and teams should always be looking to upgrade their talent.
And, no, he’s not going to take minutes away from Terrence Ross so don’t sweat that. He is going to replace McGuire, who gave them nothing and it will allow Dwane Casey to use Ross where he’s best suited – at the other wing position, where he can guard shooting guards.
It’s a good move, not a great one, he’s not exactly the dynamic break-down three they’ve needed for, well, for ever, but he’s probably better than what they had.
Even as I type this, I’m sure there are stock boys in grocery stores all over crazily putting out new supplies of razor blades.
And all I can say is: Thank whatever deity it is that you worship that this month is coming to close.
Yes, I understand entirely that the fund-raising for Movember is significant and we all know that every dollar counts.
But how about this:
Today, sometime, everyone who grew a moustache but shouldn’t have takes a picture of himself.
And on Halloween next year, he – or she – shows that picture to all their friends and loved ones and says: “If you donate the same amount as last year, I promise I won’t grow another one of these things?”
Sound like deal?
Long flight to Denver tomorrow to work on stuff for Sunday so it’d be nice to have something to do.
Oh, and I don’t know who told me about Homeland other than Not Grace Kelly but thanks.
I’m about 30 minutes of the last episode before I’m finished season one – Brody was about confront Carrie at the police station when the flight attendant made me shut the iPad Mini down – and can’t wait to see what season two is like.
Pretty busy day for David Stern, as it turns out.
Before lashing out at the Spurs, he hit Boston’s Rajon Rondo with a two-game suspension for his fight with Hump the night before and levied a handful of fines, too.
I think Rondo got off easy, too easy. I understand the heat of the moment nature of those scraps but the underlying facts in my contention that he should have been suspended for at least five games is that he wasn’t even involved in the original Hump on Garnett foul (I guess I could more easily accept Rondo’s reaction if he’d been fouled) and the recidivist nature of his behaviour.
Precedent would have suggested a longer suspension, too.
But when I first heard it, I though David had gone a bit soft; hours late the Spurs thing happened and I realized he hadn’t.