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On today‚Äôs show, The Jones break down the San Antonio Spurs’ starters controversy. Did Coach Pop’s decision to rest Parker, Duncan, and Ginobli cheat fans? Did David Stern make things worse by getting involved? Does Danny Green really need the time off? The guys also evaluate the fairness of Rondo’s suspension, the wisdom of starting Derek Fisher over Darren Collison in Dallas, and the likelihood that the Lakers will trade Pau Gasol.

All that, plus a Michael Jordan fashion faux pas, Beyonce puns, Russian hats, and a helpful list of statues for Blazers’ rookie Damian Lillard to avoid.

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Comments (98)

  1. What do you call a rodent on steroids?

    A Very Jacked-Mouse

    #pungun

    • If he were a wrestler and would go up against the spurs backup center, how would you call this?

      stackhouse vs. diaw

  2. I’d lose the “A”, but a great two-name pun. Better than ours today, for sure.

  3. Great discussion about Pop’s decision guys. I think one of the most important points that I didn’t hear was that the Spurs are so good, Pop has the luxury of making a move like this. As a Blazer fan, I would be pissed if Lillard and Batum were pulled for a game against Miami, mainly because there is absolutely no guarantee of a win and every win is precious. Coach Stotts would never hear the end of it if he rested those guys for no reason.

    Pop knows his team is making the playoffs. Few teams have this kind of flexibility.

  4. Oh my God, “We pay their salaries” is the most obnoxious argument in all of sports. That and “If you were a true fan….”

  5. The NBA is proving to be kind of a mockery. Ut started with Rondo only being suspended 2 games, the same as Demarcus — which is an absolute joke. Rondo has more of a history than DMC.

    Now, with Stern’s comments about “significant sanctions”, Pop has the right to coach his team how he wants. This starts with ownership. They allow Pop to do it. If fans are so angry, then stop going to games or watching them. The NBA can help change this by only letting 4 or 6 teams in each conference make the playoffs. Then, it’ll be tougher for teams to punt games, and you may see this happen less.

  6. I work 5 days a week. If I called my boss and told him I’m not coming in today because I’m tired he’d shitcan me on the spot. These guys get paid a lot of money to play a game. Play less minutes if you’re tired. If the season is too long then shorten it and take a pay cut.

    • I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding as to the situation, it’s not like the Spurs big 3(and Green) called Pops and said, “Hey, I’m just not feeling it today man. I need a break.”, it was Popavich who called their numbers and said “hey guys, you’ve been playing hard and you’re not exactly 24 anymore, this is the 4th game in 5 days, I’m going to rest you out of fear of never seeing you for the rest of the season since if you get injured, it’ll take forever to get healthy.” (If you need an example of age influence on a player then check Steve Nash and his recoop time) Needless to say, I’m sure all four of those players would have seen the floor had it been their decision.

      • If were talking about fundamental misunderstanding then we need to address the fact that the NBA’s existence depends on showcasing their best athletes, teams and matchups.
        Popovich intent in theory is valid however, given the context and platform this game was taking place on, it wasnt an appropriate and professional move. There are many ways a coach can rest players namely, on off days, canceling practises etc. Popovich is one of a few coaches in the league who has the balls and stature to do this but its an abuse of such position. If it was a shortened season or later in the year, maybe its less controversial. They are proffessional athletes and are trained for this schedule, especially in November. Bottom line is Its an arrogant move and Pops knows it.

    • This is a false equivalence. If your boss called you and said “don’t come in today, since you have to work all weekend on a project,” that would be a fair comparison.

    • So do the 10th-15th guys on the roster, but those guys essentially sit out every game.

  7. @ Omega: Illegitimate analogy is so many ways. But the #1 way is the coach told THEM to stay home, not the other way around. And if you’re posting that from work, maybe you should be shitcanned for working like an Andrea Bargnani plays.

  8. No mention of the major signing of Mickael Pietrus? #gimmesomeraptornews

  9. Pop had a hidden agenda. He wanted to show that Miami is overrated. Even though Spurs lost, Pop still proved that is bench was better than Miami’s starters. Yeah!!!!

  10. Trey was totally right about Rondo. He always passes up great shots to get assists. This wasn’t due to his streak. He’s been doing it for years.

  11. Stern’s got 99 problems, Popovich ain’t one.

  12. the spurs should be removed from national tv games, and popovich should be fined 1 million++. these pansy moves are the reason why everyone thinks the spurs are boring. every year the spurs have sat stars they’ve been upset early in the playoffs.

  13. Waiting for Steve Nash aside, methinks the Lakers would be best to wait until after December 15th (the date the trade restriction for free agents signed in the off-season is lifted).

  14. Too many games? this is not a new league, 82 games is not new. Having tough schedules is not new. Many teams go through this and play on. When things like this happen, ppl make a big deal about it because it happens so rarely and thats what makes it such a big deal. If you are healthy, play, if you wanna strategically rest your guys, do it against a shittier team where you aren’t needed to try your best (ORLANDO). you play every game of the season to win, don’t gimme the bullshit that one game in november doesnt matter, THEY ALL MATTER. I don’t care how good of a coach Popovich is, this is basically tanking a game.

    • Question: if a team has clinched a playoff berth and have a very small chance to move up or down (say, around the last two, three games of the season), are you against a coach resting all five starters?

    • First of all, no, not all of the regular season games matter. In some instances, like in a hotly contested Western playoff picture, these games matter. But do you not think that Pop is considering the bigger picture by benching his older players? If you ever watched the season in April, you know that is not true. I think the bigger point is that things like this are not rare; coaches bench players for a variety of reasons. The last 10-15 games of any given season are a complete crap shoot. I think you’re point about this kind of thing rarely happening applies to Stern’s reaction. Essentially, Pop benched these guys for health reasons, and players on contract with injury (like Derrick Rose, for example), still collect a paycheck. If the quality of the Spurs product as a basketball team is in question, I think they can just point to the scoreboard. They routinely have the best league-wide record, perrenially make the playoffs, have a handful of chips, and basically reinvented the job of “NBA General Manager”. These sanctions are inconsistent and reactionary, and punish a small market team for a coach making a game plan decision.

      • I have been an NBA fan for a long time and have long felt that the season is too long as far as 82 games. Much like baseball, it turns into a matter of luck/endurance to see which of the good teams can limp to the finish line with the fewest injuries and rarely are teams at their best or healthiest to start the playoffs. Totally disagree with Trey’s conjecture that inter-conference games would have to go on shortened schedule. If games have to be cut, then shave a divisional and conference matchup with each team off the schedule and leave interconference home and away alone. It comes off as a money-grab at the cost of quality, which is what we all want.

    • And what does winning gain them? An opponent in the other conference you only face twice a year? Miami is an opponent where, even if you win the game, you had to play all 48 minutes at an extremely high level. You sap an excruciating 30 or so minutes from players who have precious little basketball left for one win in November you could make up ten fold down the road against lesser EC teams. The long run will determine whether this game was really meaningful or not, but I feel like not a one of us are in a position to question a coach of Pop’s stature.

  15. Another point I didnt ear discussed was he gave up against a game against an out of conference team to make sure his team was fresh for the in Division team.

    The division title is far more important than standings against Miami.

    Pop wasnt just resting players, he was getting his players better prepared for a more important game.

    • which is a strategic move to rest his players. which is a cop out. they are healthy, play them. its not freaking hard. everyone has tough schedules, everyone has vets. they all play if they can. they arent making that much money not to play and only show up in the playoffs

      • This is total BS. There was no reason for him to play anyone. By no rules is he obligated to put anyone on the floor other than players he wants in the game. Strategy is why this league is a competitive league.

        That’s what you do when you compete – you develop strategy and if it works – then you win!

        By the way, that was one of the most entertaining games I seen this season.

        And another point – if San Antonio would have played their starters, that would have meant that their bench would not play as much, which basically means that Stern thinks that those players SUCK so much that he will fine Popovich for playing them more. He thinks they are not worthy of being San Antonio starters. WTF, now Stern is gonna tell people who to start, who to play and who to draft? Why dont they just rename it to National DavidSterned Association.

        All of those players who started for SA, are stars in their respective countries: Mills – Indigenous Australian, French De Colo and Diaw, Splitter plays for Brazil was MVP in Europe and Neal although from US, while playing in Turkey he led their league in scoring.

        Those are not scrubs, they would beat half of the teams in this league on any given night, hell they almost beat the Heat.

  16. Popovich’s only responsibilities are to his players and the Spurs management. If both agree with his decision to bench players, then he’s done his job. Like Trey said, penalizing someone for breaking a rule that doesn’t exist is ridiculous. On the other hand, I’d be pretty cheesed if I had tickets to last night’s game.

  17. What makes the Miami Heat different from any other opponent? Sure, it gathers more audience than, say, a Wizards vs Hornets game, but you’re going to have to treat every team fairly. If Pop had rested those guys in the previous game at Orlando, nobody would have said a word. It shouldn’t matter what teams are playing and whether or not the game is on national television.

    Bottom line is, the league is in no position to interfere with how a coach manages his players’ minutes. Sure, Pop disappointed a lot of fans who wanted to see both teams at full strength, but he had every right to rest his players, per Adam Silver, deputy commissioner and future commissioner: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/blog/eye-on-basketball/21194337/david-stern-calls-spurs-resting-starters-unacceptable

    • but the point is, no one in the league does this… its an unwritten rule, and yes it doesn’t matter that it is Miami, although it still kind of definitely does.

      • What does it have to do with anything at all that nobody in the league does it. How is that by itself relevant at all? If your only point is Popovich broke an unwritten rule, you have no point beyond it’s unsportmanlike. Nevermind that it’s debatable such a rule exists or if it just happens to be the norm because every other team is dumb. When you are coaching a team virtually guaranteed to be a top four seed in the West, then no, one game really doesn’t matter – in November or March.

        • Nothing is gauranteed lol. And if being unsportsmanlike is going to affect NBA’s image, affect profits, fans negatively, then Stern has every right to do something about it. Sitting ur starters in Novemeber is different than in March.

          Also, the fact that nobody else does it is definitely relevant when other teams can seem to play all year long and do just fine. Its good for no one especially when half of the starters who were sat weren’t EVEN VETS, i bet those guys didn’t even want to sit (who would against another blockbuster team, that you obviously want to beat) it was Greg Pussyvich trying to do good by his team. As a GM I woud be unhappy that we aren’t trying to win all 82 of the games and since this happened already I am sure it will happen again. As a Fan I am unhappy that I didn’t get to see a game I was psyched to watch at the beginning of the week.

          • Also, this could snowball into bigger implications. Par example, every team sitting their stars whenever they feel like it because they think they can’t win it to begin with. No one would go see those games and fans would be confused on whether or not to go to games in the first place. Losing franchises would lose more money than they are already losing.

          • 1. Hence, “virtually”.
            2. It may be the NBA’s job to cater to the lowest common denominator, but it’s not Popovich’s.
            3. The only one of the four that was not a vet was Danny Green.
            4. “Doing fine” is worlds different from performing optimally.
            5. lol, and you’re going to guess what his players were thinking. Then I’m also willing to bet they had input in this decision.
            6. I’m sure the GM is infinitely more interested in winning a championship.
            7. As the coach, Popovich does not have to care one iota what you want as a fan. If you’re a Spurs fan, your ultimate desire is the Spurs to win a championship. If you’re a Heat fan, I’m sure you’re happy the Heat were going to pick up an easy win (pre-game obviously; it was not easy by any means).

          • @ snowballing: Like Tas said, if teams were trying this more often….. they would not win very many games. Only top tier teams can afford to really work this way and I’m sure their fans are willing to trade a regular season victory for a slightly higher chance for a championship.

            … lol, get out of here with that fallacious slippery slope argument.

          • Won’t let me reply you apparently.

            Fallcious? The implications are real, the only reason GM’s want to win a championship over anything is because of the extra profits they can earn whilst in the playoff contention. Its all about MONEY. If games ended up having mid-top tier teams sitting their starts on random nights, fans would undoubtedly be upset. Ticket sales would definitely fall. TV deals would decrease, who the fuck wants to watch the likes of tiago splitter and boris diaw vs LBJ and Bosh. Althought fans love to watch their team ultimately win (whatever their perspective may be), they want to watch a good game. As a heat fan who paid to watch a blockbuster game only to be cheated out by Greg Poppy, I would not only be mad, but I would refute the idea of ever buying tickets to these games again.

            Also, Tony Park although being in the league for several years is only 30 fucking years old. He in no way needs or should be sitting a game since he isn’t hurt. I don’t give a shit what Poppovich cares about, I understand his point of view and why he did it. What I don’t like about it is what it could turn into as well as what it already did to a game that coulda been great. Instead it was a mediocre game that’s sheer entertainment value came from everyone hoping the Spurs would still beat the Heat.

            Also when assuming what the players were thinking was a guess, but I’m sure its not too far off from reality. As Franchise players of one of the top NBA teams in the league, would you not want to best the defending champions? I would.

            Also in reference to your last statement, I was referring to teams who were tanking on purpose. Your Detroits, your Charlottes, your Torontos. If all the losing teams simply did this because there was “no rule” who the fuck would go watch games. Its still a smart idea because you were planning on “losing” anyways which should not be the mentality in the first place, but it sets a precedence that oh, in case they get hurt we’ll just sit them for the final 20 games of the year, have them come back stronger next year.

      • You cannot punish a team for violating an “unwritten rule”. There is no violation of anything here, and it doesn’t matter that nobody else in the league does it. Pop has been doing this for years and it only erupted last night because of the circumstances? You gotta be fair to everyone. What about teams that blatantly tank? Lots of teams tanked for Anthony Davis last year and Golden State tanked to retain their pick by trading Monta for an injured Bogut.

        And if the league were to make a rule, how are they going to do it? The problem with making a rule is, how are you going to single out those players like Duncan, Ginobili and Parker? And what about Danny Green who also sat the game out? Is it the fact that Pop sat Duncan, Ginobili and Parker (“star players”) that pissed people off or the fact that he sat out players? You certainly cannot list out players who must play in every game when healthy and neither can you simply say “starter”, seeing as Ginobili comes off the bench. If you say that a team must play their “star players”, what’s the definition of a “star player”?

        • And I can personally guarantee you, that if such a rule were somehow to be made, that we will begin seeing a lot of “star players” sitting out with sore muscles, mildly sprained ankles, flu-like symptoms etc.

        • and tahts what i am saying, people will start doing that more and more, if nothings to be done.

          • I can’t reply to you either “C’mon now Tassy”. Wish there was some monicker to address you by other than that, rofl.

            (re: slippery slope)
            Anyway, like I said, it’s not Pop’s job to cater to the lowest common denominator of fans. There certainly are fans that would enjoy a game with non-star players; I happen to be one of them. And it is definitely a fallacious argument because it is not random at all. No team sits players for no reason… that’s utterly ridiculous to think teams would start that now just because Popovich decided to sit four starters in the fourth game in five nights (and fifth in seven, I believe). Just because they can get away with it doesn’t mean they’ll do stupid things to cost the teams wins WITH NO PERCEIVED LONG TERM BENEFITS. The proof is so easy; the fact of the matter is nobody has done it before. There is no slippery slope to go down. It makes no sense, so once again, get that fallacious slippery slope garbage out of here.

            (re: fan disproval/support; tanking teams)
            Easy parallel: fans will argue about the merits and cons of tanking forever – and that’s essentially the same concept. Play a less than optimal lineup now for possible future gains. Fans are certainly okay with tanking and watching a team lose. I don’t see how you can insist that universally, they aren’t okay with Pop’s decision. That’s ludicrous.

            Also, tanking teams don’t really have fans at games regardless of who players. They don’t have star players to sit usually anyway. And you don’t think they already sit their “vets”/low ceiling players when the season is decided for them? Really?

            (re: player mindset)
            With regards to the players, you don’t think if they protested hard enough, Popovich would ignore them and still keep them out? You really think Popovich is really willing to risk team morale, team chemistry and the possibility his star players will tune him out? Of course not.

            (re: Parker vet status)
            Tony Parker may only be 30, but he’s been in the league since he was 19. He’s a 11 year vet and is 19th in the league in regular season and playoff games played with 25+ mpg. The players above him on the list are ancient. He’s played as many meaningful games as many 15, 16-year vets. Not to mention continuously in international competition since he was 15. He is definitely an old 30.

  18. You guys take forever to upload the dam video.

    And good call on the spurs last night TAS!

  19. This was Pop’s version of The Decision. He had every right to do it but he should have went about it much differently. Danny Green should have played. Duncan, Manu, and Parker should have at least joined the team in their civvies.

  20. Popovic did this last season as well and then the anger from fans was, we bought ticket packages at the beginning of the season to see this game and we get the bench? Shaq used to sit out a lot of fall games with his, “sore toe” to make sure he was ready for the playoffs…a coach can play whoever he wants but the way Pop should handle it is to have these guys on the bench and for the fans to not react because they all have “sore toes” You can’t make coaches play players but maybe a rule should be in place that those players don’t get paid for those games or fans who buy package ticket deals could also be reimbursed for the price of the ticket. I don’t think it’s fair to the teams that do play to win and put the best players on the court risking injury. All that being said, the Spurs bench played a good game.

  21. since you failed to ryan rate this show, i am giving you a sheckler.

  22. the ghostbusters used an ectroplasm animated statue of liberty to calm new yorkers fears

  23. …because I’ve always been fascinated by the pancreas.

    Tas, you’re a madman.

  24. Popovich trolled the everloving shit out of Stern and for that alone he should be canonized. Stern is a micromanaging little tyrant and anything anyone does to show him up is axiomatically good.

  25. Get the feeling that Leigh REALLY hates the Celtics

  26. “losing face” was gold leigh

  27. What’s his favorite TBS show?

    Tyler Jerry’s Stackhouse of Payne

  28. I agree with pop’s decision 100 %. I believe him and his players should have the ability to make decisions like this.
    If the people who knew before hand, didn’t want to refund their tickets then maybe the NBA salaries should be more like real life ones.

    Where don’t get paid for the games you miss.
    Obviously, injuries would still merit their wage, but to some players, who care about the championship more than their earnings I imagine Timmy and co wouldn’t mind losing the 20,000 or whatever on some games.
    It should be their choice I guess is what I’m saying, but if we decide this is really gonna be this big of an issue, implementing this policy would be Sterns only fair(ish) way of doing so.

    Just a thought.

  29. Can I nominate Thabeet tha Dream as the new Scal?

  30. Also,
    I fucking hate David Stern that little jabba toad looking bastard

    I despise how he fines and bans anyone who speaks out against him and the league. And this is similar, just because Pops isn’t confining to his orders he loses it.
    He runs the league like nazi germany, the only reason nobody says anything because he makes the greedy athletes a lot of money.
    Can’t wait till he retires.

    • You had my attention until you brought Nazis into the conversation.

      • Haha I know.
        Definitely not a serious consideration.
        I just greatly disagree with the way Stern hands out fines to anybody who criticizes or makes a slight remark about the league, be it reffing or anything really.
        I just think that’s soo wrong. How can you punish the athletes for speaking against you. It’s pathetic.

  31. Hmm let’s see…

    Jan. 20 – Martell Webster
    Jan. 27 – Jonas Jerebko
    Feb 3 – Donte Greene
    Feb 10 – Kevin Garnett
    Feb 17 – Greg Popovich (’99 problems Popovich ain’t one’ from Leigh)
    Feb 24 – Dwight Howard
    Mar. 2 – Jerryd Bayless
    Mar 9 – Kosta Koufos
    Mar. 16 – Kaleb Canales (the infamous Kaleb-defecate-es-e from Tas)
    Mar 23 – Jeff Foster
    Mar 30 – Keyon Dooling
    April 6 – Demar DeRozan
    April 13 – Randy Foye
    April 20 – Iman Shumpert
    April 27 – Jimmer Fredette
    May 4 – (bonus Natalie Portman) + Kevin Durant
    May 11 – Joakim Noah
    May 18 – Roy Hibbert
    May 25 – Mickael Pietrus
    June 1 – Chris Kaman
    June 8 – Boris Diaw
    June 15 – Shane Battier
    June 22 – Juwan Howard
    June 29 – Dion Waiters

    November 2 – Jae Crowder
    November 9 – Memhet Okur
    Movember 16 – Raymond Felton
    November 23 – Festus Ezeli
    November 30 – Jerry Stackhouse

  32. Oh by the way J2thaAMES, beating a bunch of name names by 5 points at home with your starters is just pathetic.

  33. This is a stupid move by Stern as Pop will just counter with send the guys to the bench after the tip off or next dead ball or foul and would still be the equivalent.

  34. The way Pop could be say an F you to the NBA and the schedule makers is that his Spurs game played 4 games in 5 night while the Miami Heat had like the equivalent of a bi-week according to ESPN’s First Take Stephan A. Smith while I was listening to the program today.

  35. This precedent of fining Pop is inconsistent, but moreover I think it sends a bad message that coaches can be sanctioned for making decisions that involve their game plan. Correct me if I am wrong in interpreting it this way, but is not one of the functions of a CBA to recognize the teams as individual businesses with autonomous power of authority over their operations (player acquisition, payroll, etc.), while at the same time ensuring the league maintains it’s fiduciary responsibility of providing a quality product? More over, as a Wizards fan, I cannot see fit to sanction San Antonio (a team with unremitting success, four chips, and have produced more quality GM’s than the Detroit auto industry in the 90′s) for putting out an “inferior product” on one night, when the Wiz have been pathetic for 6 years. Not to mention, San Antonio’s bench could beat any Wizards team in the last 6 years. So, when Washington starts getting fined for being an awful organization and enduring me to watch a Division II basketball team play for NBA prices, I will feel Stern was warranted.

  36. I thought Chris Webber had a good point last night. If you were going to see, for example, Wu Tang Clan, and then Method Man, Ghostface Killa, and Raekwon didn’t show up, you would pissed off! Especially if you bought $500 tickets…

  37. @ThatMan: Its not a reasonable comparison. Maybe when you going to see Miami play, it’s like going to 1-man rap show, but when you going to see Spurs – it’s like watching Harlem Globetrotters. No one knows their names!

    • No one knows who Ginobli, Parker, and Duncan are? wtf are you talking about? Wu Tang Clan has 10 members. That is pretty similar to a basketball team, especially the Spurs. A lot of solid members, and a few that you really want to see.
      The Miami comparison would be Lebron/Wade as Jay Z/Kanye

  38. Who would the Wiz leave off their roster on a 4th game in 5 days?
    Finding 3 players is seriously hard!
    Wall (if fit)
    Nene
    …Crawford/Ariza/Okafor

  39. I like Stern as a Vince McMahon sort of character and I like Pop punking him, but I don’t see the big deal. I watch basketball on romanian livestreams that look like double dribble, so maybe those who are paying for the product have a right to be angry. Joey Crawford dancin’ and whistlin’ away is more interesting.

    On a TK note, it’s not just the ice cream that’ll get you Trey, but the end of rec league and the coming winter. Stay sedentary, my friend.
    I am Serge.

  40. What are the ice cream kids shouting?

  41. What us he when he doesnt shave
    Hairy backhouse #pungun

  42. isn’t this the other way around, though, Skeets. you have a nice job doing nothing productive or useful, you just talk about games and make puns about players’ names all day. which you wouldn’t be able to do if there was no NBA. so isn’t it rather THEM that are paying YOUR salary?
    try not being so fucking entitled next time.

  43. Tas just wondering if @Davidisagrower is on twitter?

  44. Matty O, loved the scary statues segment, very blanks jonesy, outstandingly hilarious!!!!

  45. Skeeters – tried the TOTW week intro in Babelfish, when translated into Australian it was ‘Lee making up stuff’

  46. Man alive! Boy do TBJ (lead by everyone’s favourite Australian Dunkeroo) ever hate them some Rondo.

    • He’s so easy to hate! I do not think there is a more frustrating player to watch, or be a fan of, in today’s NBA. Especially when he passes up open lay-ups for worse shots on the perimeter, abandoning a big part of his role as point guard. It’s moves like that, not necessarily his scoring, which keep him out of the “Top PG” convo. Flagrantly boosting his assist numbers, when the biggest knock against him is that he is not a legitimate scoring threat. It’s fine he doesn’t care what our perception of him is (I quite like that about him), it’s that he only capitalizes on his MVP caliber talent about 30% of the time. The NBA’s Honey Badger.

  47. Does anyone know if or when the Kevin Durant backpack came out

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