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Whenever two Western Conference powers such as the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder battle on the court, it’s must-watch television.
That’s as long as the stars on one team aren’t confined to the bench.
That will be the case Saturday for the Spurs, as the team announced starters Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, along with key reserve Manu Ginobili, will rest when San Antonio takes on Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder.
They’ll also be absent during Monday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
That’s 30.0 points, 12.6 rebounds and 11.2 assists per game, as well as a ton of leadership, left on the bench against one of the top teams in the NBA.
Of course, resting players as the team ages is nothing new for head coach Gregg Popovich, but when all three sit, it’s hard for the team to grab a win.
At 60-11, the Spurs are four games behind the Golden State Warriors for the top overall seed and 10.5 ahead of the Thunder, who are in third place. With most teams having 10 to 12 games left on the schedule, the Spurs will likely remain as the No. 2 seed.
Zach Harper of CBS Sports used some humor earlier in the week to describe the fact the Spurs will be just fine in the long run:
Spurs have to go 11-1 the rest of the way to win 70 games. Have two more games against Warriors. Those losers might only end up with 68 wins
— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) March 22, 2016
There is no doubt Popovich doesn’t care if it results in a loss or bad basketball, because he just wants his team to be ready for the grueling postseason.
It makes perfect sense to do this from time to time, because San Antonio won’t have much rest when trying to beat the run-and-gun Thunder or Warriors in the playoffs, but it’s too bad for NBA fans that it’s happening Saturday, denying them a chance to see one of the most exciting matchups in the league.
The trio will play in Friday’s game against the Grizzlies, but three other Spurs, Danny Green, Boris Diaw and Patty Mills will rest, and Kawhi Leonard is out with an injury, per MySanAntonio.com.