Before playing the Heat in Miami back in November, the Spurs sent Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Danny Green and Manu Ginobili home early from the team's road trip. David Stern was not amused and fined the Spurs an unprecedented $250,000.
Erik Spoelstra said before the game Sunday that situation had nothing to do with him sitting his players, but with the game being one of the biggest of the regular season, there was an obvious thought that the league should use the same logic and fine the Heat.
But according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, there will be no fine for the Heat.
The NBA has no plans to discipline the Miami Heat after three starters missed last night's game in San Antonio, source tells @cbssports.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) April 1, 2013
In November, the Spurs players did not travel to Miami and the league said the Spurs failed to provide timely notice of their absence.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) April 1, 2013
In fining the Spurs, the league cited a policy against "resting players in a manner contrary to the best interests of the NBA."— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) April 1, 2013
While we all know what the Heat were doing, seeing as they have clinched the top seed in the East already and aren't playing for a historic win streak anymore, it's near impossible for the league to use the same logic to fine them as it did with the Spurs. The reason? Simply because the Heat turned in an injury report with LeBron resting a hamstring strain and with Chalmers and Wade both out with ankle sprains.
Whether the injuries are real or not doesn't matter. The Heat said they were, and that's all that matters. The Spurs didn't provide the league any notice or reason when they sent their players home back in November. The Heat had their three players on the bench and listed in the official injury report.
Also, there's this: The November game was in the league's primetime TV slot, a Thursday night TNT showdown. Sunday's game was a late pickup by NBATV and didn't have the same spotlight, despite it being a highly anticipated game between each conference's top team.
Some might feel the league is being hypocritical here, but it's easy to see the differences in the situations. Doesn't make it right, but the Heat played the "game" the right way, and that allowed them to escape Stern's angry wrath basically on a technicality.