"Perhaps it'll give us an opportunity to stay on the court with Memphis on Saturday night," Popovich said. "Historically, when you're on a long road trip, that first game when you come home is really tough. And Memphis is one of the best teams in the league. They're of much more concern to us than playing four games in five nights. It's pretty logical."
Given Stern's statement, it's also logical to think that the Spurs could know their penalty by Saturday as well.
Popovich also said facing the Heat had nothing to do with his decision.
"I've gotten letters from those people before when I've done it and I understand their perspective totally," Popovich said. "If I was taking my 6-year-old son or daughter to the game, I'd want him or her to see everybody. And if they weren't there, I'd be disappointed. So I understand that perspective. Hopefully, people in that position will understand my perspective, what my priority is — the basketball team and what's best for it."
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Popovich's move didn't affect Miami's preparation.
"Each organization has a big-picture view of what they are trying to get accomplished and I think the league respects that," Spoelstra said.
Popovich had Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner, Tiago Splitter, Nando De Colo and Patty Mills in his starting lineup. Besides the four players sent home, Stephen Jackson and Kawhi Leonard are injured, meaning the Spurs had only four substitutes available.
"Obviously," Bonner said, "we're a little short-handed."
The Heat had one lineup move as well. With Shane Battier out with a sprained right knee, Spoelstra moved Rashard Lewis into Miami's starting lineup alongside LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers.