Asked by capntightpants
It’s a very odd situation.
The Spurs play basketball which, as a sport, is an athletic competition. They also play basketball as part of the NBA, which as a larger entertainment company, is a business.
As a basketball/sports/athletic competition decision, I get it. Road trip. Memphis coming up. Spurs have had a rough schedule so far. Coach made the decision.
This isn’t the first, or twentieth time Popovich has saved his players. The conservation game is a Popovich hallmark, and I understand his line of thought because his players are old. Like, really old. And slow. And boring. Alright, now I’m editorializing.
Popovich is an excellent coach, so who am I to criticize the basketball decisions he makes for his team? I’m sitting at a computer, on tumblr, typing to a guy called “CapnTightPants.”
That said, I do 100% believe in the gamesmanship of this move. Miami can’t savor beating the Spurs. They’ll never know if they could’ve knocked off San Antonio at full strength. Should the Spurs makes it to the NBA Finals, and face the Heat, Miami’s team won’t have had the experience of beating them to draw on.
This strategy is even more effective because the Spurs’ second unit almost beat Miami. If San Antonio can win their home game against the Heat, they’ll have a decided mental advantage over Miami. I believe that played a part in the decision.
Is that ducking an opponent? I actually think so. I understand the ploy, but I’m the type of guy who says, “Beat Miami at home, and beat them in San Antonio. Crush their spirit, and make their entire team nervous about facing us in the Finals.” But that’s me…
As a basketball/entertainment/business decision, it really sucks. Fans wanted to see Duncan, Ginobili and Parker (even if they’re old and boring) take on LeBron, Bosh and Wade. TNT certainly wanted to see it. The fact that it was a good game has NO BEARING on anyone, including TNT and the NBA, being unhappy with what transpired.
I’m certain TNT lost viewers because of this mess. For example: me. I didn’t watch the game because it was a farce. No matter what happened, the outcome was pointless, hollow. San Antonio didn’t convince me they could beat Miami just because their bench almost pulled it out. Miami certainly didn’t prove anything - they relaxed against the subs, and righfully so. (Important note: I’m also a champion of contraction, and a shorter regular season, so I could argue most regular season games are a tad low on meaning).
Some teams, coaches and players care about the fans. The Spurs, Pop, Duncan, Manu and Parker do not. I stand by that statement. They only care about winning the title. And I understand that too. The regular season can feel pointless at times. Hell, the entirety of professional sports can seem pointless. Championships are given significance because it keeps fans from feeling really stupid. Otherwise, we’d just be watching dudes play with things for outcomes of no significance. Championships give sports meaning.
In summation, everybody’s right and everybody’s wrong. You’re angry as a fan? I get it. You understand Pop because the title is the only thing that’s important? Totally fine.
The one thing you can’t do is punish the Spurs and Popvich financially. If there was no rule, then a rule could not have been broken. Make a rule, and make people abide by it. If Stern fines anybody one cent, it’ll be just another misinformed, unjust, dictatorial move in the downward spiraling career of a delusional commissioner.