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Monday, Dec. 3, 2012
Spurs shrug off fine, edge Grizzlies in OT
SAN ANTONIO — 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.
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 putting 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 OT.
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."
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.
While the Spurs' Big Three was refreshed from two days off, the Grizzlies were playing the second half of a back-to-back.
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 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.
Popovich said he doesn't know if the Spurs will appeal. He also didn't rule out sitting out players again in the future.
Succinctly addressing the fine before the game, he said the decision shows the NBA thinking about its bottom line and didn't elaborate on conversations with the league before the penalty came down Friday.
"What I do from my perspective is from a coaching perspective," Popovich said. "And I think the league operates from a business perspective. And I think that's reflective in the action that they took."
Heat 102, Nets 89
In Miami, Dwyane Wade scored a season-high 34 points, LeBron James added 21 and the Heat rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat Brooklyn.
Clippers 116, Kings 81
In Los Angeles, Jamal Crawford scored 17 points off the bench, leading seven Clippers in double-digit scoring, and L.A. rested all of its starters in the fourth quarter of a blowout.
Blazers 118, Cavaliers 117 (2OT)
In Cleveland, Nicolas Batum's 3-pointer with 0.2 seconds left in the second OT gave Portland a victory over the Cavs.
Rockets 124, Jazz 116
In Houston, Patrick Patterson scored 20 points, Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin had 19 apiece and the Rockets beat Utah.
Thunder 100, Hornets 79
In New Orleans, Kevin Durant scored 20 points and Russell Westbrook added 18 points and 10 assists for Oklahoma City.
Bucks 91, Celtics 88
In Milwaukee, Larry Sanders had 18 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks for the Bucks.
Bulls 93, 76ers 88
In Chicago, Luol Deng scored a game-high 25 points and the Bulls beat Philadelphia.
Mavericks 92, Pistons 77
In Dallas, O.J. Mayo broke out of a shooting slump with 27 points and the Mavs celebrated Derek Fisher's debut with a victory against Detroit.
Warriors 103, Pacers 92
In Oakland, Stephen Curry had 20 points and a season-high 11 assists to spark Golden State.