On the whole, the Spurs played with more intensity and with a much higher level of discipline than did the Heat.
Plus, San Antonio’s game plan on defense was to go under virtually every high pick and allow Miami to fire away with impunity from the perimeter. If the Heat won last season’s lockout-induced mad dash to the wire, they will need to shoot with much more consistency from long range to prevail in the normal marathon season that lies ahead.
Indeed, Stern has no business deciding who a coach chooses to play and not play.
And what does Stern do now?
Follow through and fine Pop and/or the Spurs organization?
However, no matter how substantial the expected sanctions might be, there’s no way that Stern will intimidate Pop and prevent the best coach in the league from reprising this same move when he feels it will be in the best interest of his ball club.
And what if San Antonio had won the game?
Perhaps Stern would have applied his substantial sanctions to the Heat.
With Phil Jackson out of the league and Stan Van Gundy temporarily out of a coaching job, the only coach left standing with the chutzpah to stand up to the commissioner, with the guts to speak his mind, is Pop.
All told, the only loser in this fascinating, multi-faceted situation is David Stern.
(RELATED: SANCTIONS, SCHANCTIONS. VIVA POPOVICH?)
The newest addition to the SteridanHoops columnist staff, Charley Rosen, 71, is an American author and former basketball coach. From 1983–1986, he was an assistant to Phil Jackson with the Albany Patroons of the Continental Basketball Association. He also served as head coach of the Patroons, as well as the CBA’s Rockford Lightning, Oklahoma City Cavalry and Savannah Spirits. A native of The Bronx, N.Y., Rosen is the author of 16 books about basketball. He is known for his in-depth analysis and caustic views.