Posted December 07, 2012 on
AP on Fox
San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles Lakers
Fine or no fine, Gregg Popovich isn't likely to change his philosophy on resting starters throughout the season.
So far, the San Antonio Spurs' bench has been ready to answer the coach's call.
The Spurs, though, won't get a break in the schedule Friday night when they host the Houston Rockets, losers of five straight on the road.
San Antonio's reserves nearly led the team to a win at Miami on Nov. 29 after Popovich sent four starters home to rest before the nationally televised contest.
Popovich, whose team was later fined $250,000 for his action, went to his bench out of necessity on Wednesday night.
With Danny Green (hamstring), Stephen Jackson (finger), Kawhi Leonard (knee) and Patty Mills (ankle) out because of injuries, the Spurs displayed their depth again in a 110-99 victory over Milwaukee.
Gary Neal started in place of Green and scored 22 points, Tiago Splitter finished with 15, Manu Ginobili had 11 and Matt Bonner added a season-high 12 rebounds off the bench.
Even with Neal moving into the starting lineup, San Antonio's bench had 40 points, 25 rebounds and 13 assists, and fueled a late 36-13 run that keyed the team's seventh win in eight games.
The Spurs (15-4) rank near the top of the Western Conference in bench scoring at 39.8 points per game. They'll continue to need a complete team effort with this contest starting a stretch of three games in four nights.
"They're talented,'' said Tony Parker, who led the starters with 22 points. "They showed it in Miami and they showed it again. Pop is always trying to do stuff to make sure our bench is performing."
Tim Duncan, who had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Bonner led an impressive performance on the boards. San Antonio outrebounded Milwaukee 53-36, including 28-17 in the second half.
The Spurs hope to match that effort against the Rockets (9-8), who rank near the top of the NBA in rebounding (45.2 per game). Omer Asik ranks third in the league with 12.1 per contest.
The Rockets also received a boost from their bench on Tuesday night. Toney Douglas scored a season-high 22 points, Greg Smith added a career-best 21 and Carlos Delfino had 15 in a 107-105 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
"We had a lot of guys struggle, but our bench was good,'' said interim coach Kelvin Sampson. "There is a lot to be said about having guys on the bench that you trust that can come through."
James Harden, the team leader with 23.6 points per game, will try to break out of a 13 for 51 (25.5 percent) shooting slump over his last three games.
After averaging 23.0 points in his previous three games, Patrick Patterson is also looking to get back on track after a six-point effort on Tuesday.
Houston shot just 37.6 percent from the field - including 7 of 34 (20.6 percent) from beyond the arc - against the Lakers after shooting 50.3 percent in its previous four games.
While the Rockets have averaged 111.7 points in winning five of six, all five of those victories have come at home. They're just 2-5 on the road and haven't won there since the second game of the season.
Houston, which split the four-game series with the Spurs last season, will try to avoid a sixth straight loss in San Antonio.
BEST OF MAXIM
Anytime either San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili or Nando De Colo are on the court together, you know something highlight worthy might happen.
Whether it be a clutch three from De Colo or some all out hustle play from Ginobili but one thing is for sure, these two players can pass the ball as they showed in last night's Spurs' win over the Houston Rockets.
With a full roster when the team is healthy, the San Antonio Spurs can't promise players on the bench huge minutes on a nightly basis.
With main rotational players taking up most of the 48 minutes in an NBA game, rust and players not developing would be a huge problem if they'd be needed to step up during a major injury.
With some faces expected to be returning soon...
The past two haven't been an easy transition for Tiago Splitter. He was a very timid player who didn't know how to fit in with a team that started playing a free flow type offense and his defense wasn't the best either.
This year is a different story and the San Antonio Spurs are reaping the rewards of Splitter's adjustment to the league.
His head coach...
Remember that whole “Malice at the Palace” thing? Of course you do. It’s the night NBA fans were glued to their TV sets watching Ron Artest hunt down the dopey fan who decided it was a good idea to toss a beer cup at a 6’8″ physical specimen with anger management issues. Aside from Artest’s infamous charge into the crowd, other memorable images showed a crazed Stephen...
The San Antonio Spurs certainly know when it is go-time.
The best fourth quarter team in the NBA did it again Wednesday night, with the Bucks becoming their latest victim.
San Antonio used the third quarter to erase a six-point Bucks halftime lead, and then it blitzed the Bucks in the fourth quarter, turning a tie game into a 17-point lead before holding on for a 110-99 victory...
Passing the ball may be a lost art in the NBA, but the old mantra of everyone touching the ball before a short still rings true in San Antonio with the Spurs being one of the top passing teams in the league.
Last night, against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Spurs put on a passing display on one possession showing the Spurs' perfect spacing and unselfishness in looking for the...
So far this season when an opposing team plays the San Antonio Spurs, their head coach is going to ask to comment on Gregg Popovich's decision to rest his stars. The responses from the coaching community has been siding with Pop and add Milwaukee Bucks head coach Scott Skiles.
When he was discussing bench players taking advantage of extra minutes when a guy is injured, he...
Tony Parker had 17 points and seven assists, and the San Antonio Spurs never trailed in a 114-92 victory over the Houston Rockets on Friday night.
The Spurs had six players score in double figures while matching their season high with 33 assists.
Tiago Splitter scored 15 points and Gary Neal, Manu Ginobili, Patty Mills and Tim Duncan each added 12. Duncan also had a game-high 12...
The San Antonio Spurs (14-4) return to the court as they host the Milwaukee Bucks (8-8) tonight at the AT&T Center. This will be the Bucks only visit to the Alamo City.
The Spurs are coming off a 105-100 overtime win over the Grizzlies at home where the Spurs came back by 14 in the fourth quarter and forced overtime. Tony Parker led the Spurs with 30 points and 6 assists...
After the San Antonio Spurs' recent win over the Milwaukee Bucks, I had a chance to speak with Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings.
Jennings, who finished with 14 points and four assists in 38 minutes of action versus the Spurs, spoke on San Antonio and what it takes to play against them to have a shot at winning, his thoughts on the controversial photo with Tim Duncan and...
Spurs Stephen Jackson had a few thoughts to share with Twitter on Friday night about Thunder forward Serge Ibaka. During Lakers vs. Thunder, Serge and Metta World Peace had a brief altercation. Apparently Stephen was watching the game like we were and had a message for Serge. Somebody tell serg Abaka. He aint bout dis [...]
NBA commissioner David Stern has come out and defended his actions of fining the San Antonio Spurs a sum of $250,000 for sitting their "four best players" against a game against the Miami Heat in Miami.
Stern went on to say that he has no problem with the coach (Gregg Popovich), but it's about "the relationship between 30 owners and 30 teams." He also...
Pat Williams, senior vice president of the Orlando Magic, joins Matt this week to discuss a variety of NBA topics. He comments on Gregg Popovich's decision to send four players home last week just before a game, offers thoughts on the impact David Stern's retirement will have on the league and talks about the season outlook for the Suns and the Magic. Plus, hear all about...
Check out the NBA’s top bloopers of November 2012 including a must-see interview between Charles Barkley and Gregg Popovich, Big Baby nose-diving into the crowd, and an uncalled for chest bump by Jazz guard, Randy Foye: