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Spurs beat Warriors on controversial Thiago Splitter tip-in (Video)

Gregg Popovich did that thing on Thursday night where he infuriates the NBA by resting his superstar players for a nationally televised game, but the San Antonio Spurs came away with a win over the Golden State Warriors anyway. However, the ending of the game has created some controversy.

San Antonio center Tiago Splitter tipped in the game-winning basket with 2.1 seconds remaining. Boras Diaw had attempted a reverse layup that begin falling off the front of the rim, and Splitter was able to tip it in with his left hand. Replay angles from above the basket showed that there was a possibility the ball was still within the cylinder when Splitter touched it.

Tiago-Splitter-tip-in

As SI.com’s The Point Forward noted, goaltending and basket interference plays can be reviewed in the final two minutes of a game only if an official has whistled a violation. Since the officials did not call offensive goaltending, they could not have reviewed the play and reversed the call.

Most importantly, I think that rule needs to be changed. I don’t blame the officials for not calling offensive goaltending, as there’s really no way to tell for certain with a play that close. That’s where replay should come in, and a play like that should be reviewable regardless of what the call was (or wasn’t) on the floor.

Photo via @cjzero

San Antonio Spurs fans celebrate Game 3 win like they won NBA title (Video)

The San Antonio Spurs destroyed the Miami Heat in Game 3 to take a 2-1 lead on Tuesday night. After splitting the first two games of the series in Miami, Tim Duncan and company gained the upperhand with a 113-77 victory. As you would expect, Spurs fans were loving it.

The series is far from over, but a collection of fans were so excited that they decided to party in the streets as though their team had just won the whole damn thing. We’re talking car horns beeping and kids in diapers on top of a pickup truck.

With the way some of these Spurs fans were acting, you’d swear the team didn’t have two wins to go.

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Amazing then and now GIF of the San Antonio Spurs

It absolutely blows my mind to think that the San Antonio Spurs’ core players and coach once looked like that. Tony Parker once had a super-smooth face. Manu Ginobili used to have hair. Tim Duncan once rocked a ‘fro. Gregg Popovich had a sweet combover.

How great would this GIF look if the Spurs somehow managed to win another NBA title years after their last one? Too bad it won’t happen, but this GIF allows us to relive the past glory days.

H/T SI Hot Clicks

Spurs’ Big Three flew commercial on infamous flight because of plane problems

Gregg PopovichNBA fans won’t forget the infamous November night when the San Antonio Spurs royally ticked off commissioner David Stern by sending their top three players home from a road trip the day of their huge, nationally-televised game at the Miami Heat. The game was appropriately hyped up by TNT because it featured two of the best teams in the league. It even turned out to be a preview of the NBA Finals.

Until now, I didn’t know that the four Spurs players were actually supposed to fly home on a private plane the night before the game, not on a commercial plane the day of, which enhanced the perception that they were really trying to stick it to Stern.

Dan McCarney of SpursNation.com shared those details in an article he wrote on Wednesday.

Danny Green, who flew home with Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Tim Duncan, told McCarney that the four players were supposed to go home on Wednesday night after their 110-89 win over the Orlando Magic. Green says there were some plane problems that prevented them from leaving that night.

“We were on the plane,” Green told McCarney. “But we didn’t move anywhere. We were just looking at some things, trying to clean it out and they found out … it wasn’t safe to take off in that plane.

“And they checked out the next earliest flight, it was commercial. We didn’t purposely go Southwest the next day to let everyone know we weren’t going to play. The plan was supposed to be getting back the night before so we could have more rest. Obviously it didn’t work out the way we wanted to.”

So this wasn’t some improvised plan put together by Pop the morning of the game.

The Spurs have a habit of sitting players during the regular season, so Green says they weren’t expecting a reaction.

“At the time, it wasn’t as funny, especially when we got the fine,” Green told Spurs Nation. “But afterward, looking back at it, it’s one of the things you go through. We saw a lot of you guys (media) at the airport. At that point, we knew it was going to be a big deal.”

We’ll never really know how intentional Pop’s actions were, but this at least makes him look slightly better. I’m also guessing the $250,000 fine from the league helped teach the team a lesson.

Stephen Jackson: Gregg Popovich wanted me to admit other Spurs were better

Stephen JacksonStephen Jackson’s release by the San Antonio Spurs last week came as a shock to many. Nobody saw it coming, and many people were led to believe that Jackson was happy being part of the San Antonio organization. That clearly was not the case — at least not recently.

The day he was released, Jackson hinted at a possible conflict with coach Gregg Popovich.

“I would never say a player is better than me when I know their not. Not for no one,” Jackson wrote on Instagram.

He then tagged his note with a hashtag saying you and I know what’s really going on.

Jackson made it pretty obvious that he was dissatisfied with being behind players on the depth chart whom he thinks he’s better than. He elaborated on that thought in an interview with Sister 2 Sister Magazine.

“We had a disagreement,” Jackson said in reference to Coach Popovich. “He wanted me to agree to players being better than me, and I didn’t agree. I’ve been in the NBA a long time, so it’s just something I didn’t agree with and something I have no control over. He’s the coach. He controls who plays, and he controls the team, which I do respect. At the same time, I know what I can do and what I been doing my whole career, and I’m far from ready to hang it up. So, I can’t let one person tell me where I’m at 35-years-old. To me, it just didn’t make no sense.”

Jackson also says he expressed his unhappiness with his role on the team prior to the trade deadline and all-star break, and that he wishes they would have released him sooner so he could have joined another team.

I’m not 100 percent sure about whom Jackson is referring, but I’m guessing it’s Kawhi Leonard. Leonard was the team’s first-round pick in 2011 and has seen a big minutes boost this season. He’s also played well for San Antonio, and you cannot really disagree with the results; the Spurs secured the second seed in the Western Conference.

Who can really be surprised about Jackson having an issue with the team? He’s had problems everywhere he’s played, so it was only a matter of time before he had an issue with the Spurs. I’m honestly shocked he went this long without really having a big disagreement with the team.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

Fan/attorney suing Spurs for sitting stars against Heat

gregg popovichThe San Antonio Spurs caused a controversy when they sent home four of their top players prior to a nationally-televised game against the Miami Heat on Nov. 29. They have already been punished by the league for the move, and now they are being sued by a fan.

According to ESPN, attorney Larry McGuinness filed a class-action suit in Miami-Dade County against the Spurs for their actions. He reportedly accuses the Spurs of “intentionally and surreptitiously” sending their players home before the game without the knowledge of the league, team, and fans.

“It was like going to Morton’s Steakhouse and paying $63 for porterhouse and they bring out cube steak,” McGuinness said, according to ESPN.

McGuinness reportedly bought his ticket on the resale market, meaning he likely paid much more to see a top team like the Spurs than he would have to see a lesser team.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich sent Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Danny Green home to San Antonio before the Thursday game against the Heat in Miami. Though the Spurs played an extremely competitive game and only lost 105-100, commissioner David Stern was so incensed by Popovich’s move that he scolded the Spurs in a statement issued before the game in which he promised to sanction the team. Stern fined the team $250,000 for the move.

McGuinness reportedly says he and other fans “suffered economic damages” by paying a premium price for tickets to see a good team that was missing most of its top players.

Popovich acknowledged after the game that he would have been disappointed if he were a fan who bought tickets to the game.

“If I was taking my 6-year-old son and daughter to the game, I would want them to see everybody,” Popovich said. “And if they weren’t there, I’d be disappointed.”

The Spurs were playing their fourth game in five days, and Pop felt it was more important for his players to get extra rest.

We have filed this story in our “frivolous lawsuits” category because we believe that’s what it is. There are never guarantees when one buys a ticket for a sporting event. McGuinness should be pleased he got to see a great game. We also think he should stick to labor and employment law, which, according to his LinkedIn profile, is his firm’s specialty.

David Stern promises ‘substantial sanctions’ to Spurs for sitting star players

The San Antonio Spurs caused a s— storm on Thursday when it was revealed coach Gregg Popovich would be resting his top players for Thursday’s nationally-televised game against the Miami Heat on TNT.

Commissioner David Stern threw a fit about the decision and is dropping the hammer.

“I apologize to all NBA fans,” he said in a statement issued before the game. “This was an unacceptable decision by the San Antonio Spurs and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming.”

Popovich emphasized that the Spurs were not simply mailing it in because Miami is a tough opponent, but because of scheduling and old age. Thursday’s game was the fourth in five nights for the Spurs, and it marks the end of a six-game road trip. They have another big game at home against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.

“We didn’t do it because it’s the Miami Heat,” Popovich told the media before the game. “It has nothing to do with the Miami Heat or TV or anybody. You deal with the schedule the best you can and do the wisest thing for your particular team.

“If our best players were 23 years old or 25 years old, we might have done something different.”

Popovich is resting Tim Duncan, who is 36 years old; Tony Parker, who is 30; Manu Ginobili, who is 35; and Danny Green, who is 25. All have played at least 20 minutes per game during San Antonio’s five-game winning streak.

Resting his older players is something Pop has been doing for a few years. It’s not like this is a new strategy for him.

TNT commentators Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller defended Pop’s decision, and so do I.

I think it’s completely out of line for Stern to try to tell Popovich how to manage his players. NFL teams frequently rest star players towards the end of the season after clinching playoff spots regardless of whether they’re on national TV in primetime games. Whether the strategy works is debatable, but what is not debatable is whether a coach has a right to determine his players’ minutes.

If Stern is worried about fans not getting their money’s worth, he shouldn’t be; anyone watching still gets to see LeBron James and the Heat, which makes most tickets worth buying. And if he wants November regular-season games matter this much, then maybe he should limit the number of teams that make the playoffs. Also, why isn’t Stern looking at his scheduling people? Why did his office give the Spurs four games in five nights and put them on national TV against the Heat in November if he wanted the teams to be at their peaks? He should be reprimanding his schedulers instead of San Antonio.

Lastly, how can Stern release the statement before the game is played? For one day, who’s to say San Antonio’s secondary players can’t beat the Heat? The commissioner is clearly saying that the entertainment factor is much more important than anything else in the NBA, which is why they’ve been upset about the success of the “boring” Spurs all these years.

Photo credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE