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Spurs Validate Coach’s Decision to Rest Starters With Victory

The San Antonio Spurs defeated their division rival Memphis Grizzlies 99-95 in overtime to validate their coach’s decision to rest his starters three nights earlier, a move that cost the team $250,000.

The Spurs were fined by the National Basketball Association after coach Gregg Popovich sent home his players before the team’s 105-100 loss to the Miami Heat on Nov. 29. San Antonio was playing its fourth road game in five nights and finishing a six-game road trip.

Tony Parker scored 30 points, Tim Duncan had 27 points and 15 rebounds and Manu Ginobili added 10 points for the Spurs (14-4) who are one-half game behind the Grizzlies in the Western Conference’s Southwest Division.

Thirty-six-year-old Duncan, 30-year-old Parker, 35-year-old Ginobili and 25-year-old Danny Green, who scored one point last night, had returned to San Antonio as the team prepared for Miami.

“What I do from my perspective is from a coaching perspective,” Popovich told reporters before the game. “And I think the league operates from a business perspective. And I think that’s reflective in the action that they took.’”

Popovich hasn’t decided if he will appeal the fine. NBA Commissioner David Stern said pulling the players “did a disservice to the league and our fans.”

The Spurs trailed 46-45 at the half. The Grizzlies outscored their opponents 27-15 in the third quarter with the Spurs rallying the final period to tie the game 87-87 at AT&T Center in San Antonio.

Marc Gasol had 20 points and Mike Conley Jr. scored 18 for the Grizzlies (12-3). The Grizzlies and the Miami Heat share the best record in the league.

In other NBA games last night, it was Miami 102, Brooklyn 89; Portland 118, Cleveland 117 (2OT); Chicago 93, Philadelphia 88; Oklahoma City 100, New Orleans 79; Houston 124, Utah 116; Milwaukee 91, Boston 88; and Dallas 92, Detroit 77.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at nkercheval@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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