SAN ANTONIO - San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich received a standing ovation Saturday during the team’s introductions.
It was a clear sign that fans supported his decision to sit-out four key players before Thursday’s game against the Miami Heat.
The Spurs were fined $250,000 by NBA Commissioner David Stern Friday for doing, what he called, "a disservice to the league and our fans."
But Spurs fans said the coach’s decision was a strategic move to rest 3 of the team’s oldest players.
“He was being a coach,” said Sheri Marshall. “He was doing what he thought was best for his team.”
"He should be able to do whatever he wants with his players whenever he wants to do it," said Ross Murdoch.
Starters Danny Green, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and “sixth man” Manu Ginobili were all sent home before Thursday’s nationally televised matchup with the Heat.
Stern said the quarter of a million dollar penalty was handed down because the Spurs did not notify, in a timely manner, the league, the Heat, the media or fans, that the marquee players would not be playing.
Lee Roquemore, a member of a fan group called the “Baseline Bums”, wore a large dollar sign around her neck to Saturday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
“That's a tribute to Mr. Stern's concern for the fan experience,” she said. ”I don’t see anything questionable about it, it seems normal to me to rest (the players).”
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