'Disappointed' Spurs shrug off fine, beat Memphis

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 1, 2012 at 11:29 pm •  Published: December 1, 2012
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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — So that's what $250,000 worth of rest looks like.

Tony Parker scored 30 points and Tim Duncan had 27 points and 15 rebounds, giving the San Antonio Spurs their money's worth for the unprecedented fine from the NBA they absorbed for putting rest over the league's business interests in a 99-95 overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night.

Coach Gregg Popovich said before the victory he was "disappointed" by the $250,000 fine levied by Commissioner David Stern after the Spurs sent Parker, Duncan and Manu Ginobili — three of the NBA's biggest names — home from a road trip early instead of playing them against LeBron James and the Miami Heat on Thursday in a nationally televised game.

This might ease his frustration. Because chances are Popovich wasn't second-guessing his decision while watching the 36-year-old Duncan put up his best game this season, Parker eclipsing 30 points for the third time in five games and Ginobili sinking the tying 3-pointer with under a minute left to force overtime.

Parker mentioned afterward — perhaps not coincidentally — that the two days off made him feel like he had "a lot of energy" in the extra period.

"We definitely always have Pop's back. Me, personally I really appreciate what he's done for my career," Parker said. "Because of him, I've been playing all those years and all those summers with the national team because he's always protecting me. Timmy's the same way and Manu is the same way."

He then added how he wanted to win this one for his coach.

"I definitely felt like it was for Pop," Parker said. "I wanted to be super aggressive and win the game."

Marc Gasol led Memphis with 20 points. Zach Randolph had 17 points and 15 rebounds and was one of three Memphis players with double-doubles.

Mike Conley had 18 points and 12 assists, and Rudy Gay had 15 points and 10 rebounds.

While the Spurs' Big Three was refreshed from two days off, Memphis was playing the second half of a back-to-back.

"We don't use any excuses here," Conley said. "We felt like we had a chance to win the game regardless of back-to-back or resting. We felt like we had a chance to win."

The unprecedented fine announced Friday overshadowed the first meeting this season between two of the West's winningest teams. Even Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban — who knows a thing or two about running afoul of Stern and getting hit in the checkbook — chimed in before his team's own game Saturday night.

Cuban believes the NBA was right to sanction his top rivals for messing with the league's "money train" — meaning lucrative national television contracts. Yet he also called scheduling that marquee TNT game at the end of the Spurs' six-game road swing a "dumb" move on the NBA's part.

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