Nightly Grades 11.29.12: Gregg Popovich wins, and loses

 Nobody puts Gregg Popovich in a corner. (Getty Images)

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

Gregg Popovich He's the coach of the San Antonio Spurs. That means he gets to coach them. It was his decision, his choice, his right, to sit whoever he wanted to sit. He knows his team better than anyone else does; he's one of the greatest coaches in professional sports. He made his choice to send home his four top scorers against the mighty Heat. And his so-called scrubs nearly rewarded him with quite the middle finger to everyone. Heck, the fact it was as close as it was almost is good enough.
The second Spurs With everyone griping about Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker not playing, guys like Tiago Splitter, Gary Neal and Boris Diaw were still playing. They surely felt the disrespect and so they showed up and nearly put quite the feather in Pop's hat.
Miami Heat
The Heat had their players playing. And they nearly blew a game to a Spurs team led by Patty Mills and Nando De Colo. If not for LeBron James taking over late, the Heat would've had one of the more embarrassing losses of the season. It's natural to lose focus a bit with the Spurs sitting their top players, but still, it shouldn't have been as close as it was. The Heat were rested and at home playing a bunch of bench guys. And they needed a Ray Allen 3 with less than a minute left to survive.
David Stern The Heat won, so he was spared a little of the egg on his face. But the fact it was as close as it was has to hurt a bit. Stern's statement was very strong and you have to wonder if he wishes he would've waited until after the game to release it.
Gregg Popovich It's hard not to see Stern's side of this. In terms of fair competition, Popovich made a mockery out of the league's spotlight game of the week. Fans that paid big money to see the Western power Spurs take on the East's Heat were left watching Nando De Colo and Tiago Splitter. They still got a good game, but stars drive the league and the Spurs mostly fielded a team of no-names.
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