National Basketball Association
<    September    >
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30
 
                     === Grizzlies pay a visit to Spurs ===
 
 (Sports  Network) - Two  of the best teams in the NBA battle on Saturday night
 when  the  Memphis Grizzlies  invade the  AT&T Center to  face the San Antonio
 Spurs.
 
 The  two  teams have  two of the  best records in  the NBA  and it should be a
 marquee matchup.
 
 This  is the first time the Spurs take the court since Thursday's game against
 the defending champion Miami Heat in South Beach. It was just before that game
 that  head coach  Gregg  Popovich sent  stars Tim  Duncan,  Tony Parker,  Manu
 Ginobili  and Danny Green back to San Antonio to rest at the end of a six-game
 road trip.
 
 It did not go over well with NBA Commissioner David Stern.
 
 "I  apologize to all NBA fans," Stern said. "This was an unacceptable decision
 by the San Antonio Spurs and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming."
 
 Popovich declined to comment since Stern's comments came right around tip-off.
 
 Then, a funny thing happened.
 
 The Spurs, without those four key contributors, held the lead over the Heat in
 the  final minute.  A few bad shots,  and a Ray Allen 3-pointer later, and the
 Heat walked out with a 105-100 victory.
 
 That  snapped what had  been a perfect road trip to that point. The Spurs were
 5-0  and play their next three in San Antonio. They'll be a bit lighter in the
 wallet  after Stern handed the Spurs a $250,000 fine for what the commissioner
 deemed  as  a violation of league  policy against resting players "in a manner
 contrary to the best interests of the NBA."
 
 The game was on national television.
 
 "The  result here is dictated by the totality of the facts in this case," said
 Stern  in  a statement. "The  Spurs decided to make  four of their top players
 unavailable  for an  early-season game that was the team's only regular-season
 visit  to Miami. The team also did this without informing the Heat, the media,
 or  the league  office in  a  timely way.  Under these  circumstances, I  have
 concluded that the Spurs did a disservice to the league and our fans."
 
 San Antonio's stars should be back in action Saturday night.
 
 Memphis sits ahead of the Spurs in the Southwest Division with a 12-2 mark and
 has  won four in  a row. The Grizzlies just played on Friday versus Detroit in
 the  finale of a  five-game homestand (4-1) and got 17 points apiece from Marc
 Gasol  and Mike Conley  in a 90-78 win. Gasol grabbed 11 rebounds and Rudy Gay
 led Memphis with a game-best 18 points.
 
 "We won four out of five," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said of the Grizzlies'
 recent  homestand. "We  defended and we outscored the other teams. That's what
 it's about."
 
 The  Grizzlies, who  will play  five of  seven games  on the  road, forced  22
 turnovers,  leading  to 31  points. Grizzlies guard  Tony Allen (groin) missed
 Friday's game and is questionable against the Spurs.
 
 Memphis  lost all four meetings with San Antonio last season and is winless in
 four straight trips to the Alamo City. The Grizzlies, in fact, have dropped 14
 of their previous 15 games as the visitor in this series.
 
 12/01 10:59:42 ET