Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 12/6/12
Boston-celtics-los-angeles
SAN ANTONIO On Wednesday night, in New Orleans, NBA commissioner David Stern made sure to be on hand when one of the sexiest, glitziest teams in the league adorned fans and media with something equally shiny and impressive: Kobe Bryant becoming just the fifth person in history to score 30,000 points in his career. But it was 500 miles due west, away from the records and the commissioner and a 9-10 Lakers team that has commanded so much attention, that the San Antonio Spurs continued to be the slow, steady, sure organization that racks up wins in its no-flair style. The kind of fireworks, drama and Q-rating scores Stern has masterfully used to lift the NBA higher in the American imagination? None here, not this team. There are no Big Threes, no ego battles, no stars demanding exits, no Linsanity or teams hijacked by their own players or big-city angst over a so-so season. Just a Spurs squad quietly taking care of the Milwaukee Bucks, 110-99, to lift its record to a near-league best 15-4. This is the crux of Stern's anger last week at San Antonio's decision to send its stars home instead of play them in a nationally televised game against the Miami Heat. One week ago today, Restgate burst onto the scene because Stern has as much of an issue with the Spurs success as how they do it. The drama was as much a reminder that Stern would rather see an NBA dominated by teams in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago as it was about that one incident. Those in the Spurs organization know this, and they feel strongly that they'd done what they'd always done: Let Gregg Popovich coach his team, his way and the way he always had. Resting players wasn't new, and had happened nearly a dozen times since 2007. Was Popovich also tweaking a commissioner who's as much a control freak and mind-game tactician as he is? Maybe. Probably. And he probably thought he was doing it safely within the rules. It sure looked that way to everyone but Stern. But what got lost in Stern vs. Pop is that the Spurs are winners, and they have earned the right to win their way. They nearly beat Miami a week ago, without Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green. They followed that game up by beating Memphis, who does have the best record in the league. And on Wednesday night they got 40 points, 25 rebounds and 13 assists from their bench, even though Gary Neal started in place of an injured Danny Green, against a Milwaukee team that played them tough. Think all that experience playing the Heat had something to do with it? "They're talented," Parker said. "They showed it in Miami and tonight they showed it again. Pop is always trying to do stuff to make sure our bench is performing and tonight it definitely performed." They showed it in Miami, but they may also have learned it in Miami. This is a league where you learn by doing. The Spurs have done it, year after year, their way. They way Pop has taught them to. So with the spotlight elsewhere and the drama behind Restgate fading the Spurs are still the Spurs: Winning games quietly in flyover country, watching Tim Duncan perhaps the most underrated all-time great in history seem to shed years, and enjoying Tony Parker's continued MVP-level of play. And watching a bench blossom under the tutelage of a coach who can rest his three stars against one of the league's best teams and, a week later, still be 15-4. Maybe even Stern is starting to get that he can't rewrite how the Spurs do business in large part because it works so well. He stressed from New Orleans that had the Spurs notified everyone, well, heck, who knows what would have happened? He also seemed to back off his criticisms of Popovitch. Maybe it's dawned on him you can't criticize a coach with four rings for, you know, coaching his team. "Pop is a great coach, Hall of Fame coach," Stern said. "This decision was made by the entire senior management and ownership of the San Antonio Spurs and I felt that they were doing what they perceived was their job and I was doing what I perceived as my job and that's what happens." Exactly. Stern's job is to keep his TV partners happy and sell the league. The Spurs job is to win games and, ultimately, championships. A quick trip to San Antonio serves as the perfect reminder: They're not living it up under the star-studded lights of the big city, but they're very much inching closer toward another postseason run. You can follow Bill Reiter on Twitter or email him at foxsportsreiter@gmail.com.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Mavericks get Nerlens Noel in trade with 76ers

NASCAR announces four drivers will lend their voices to 'Cars 3'

Draymond Green video game highlights his groin-shot past

Paul George trade unlikely despite interest from Lakers and Celtics

Report: David Ortiz could join Red Sox broadcast team this season

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Knicks, T-Wolves working on Rose-Rubio trade

Rick Pitino calls heckling UNC fan ‘coward,’ says it was not a student

Winston criticized for giving sexist speech to schoolchildren

Cubs close door on Sammy Sosa reunion after bizarre comments

Rick Pitino restrained from going after North Carolina fan

76ers trading Ersan Ilyasova to Hawks for Tiago Splitter, pick

Box Score 2/23: Gillon's buzzer-beater blast for the win

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

Box Score 2/22: Not everyone is happy with the new intentional walk rule

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

Box Score 2/21: It's trade heartbreak season

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win the MVP award

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker