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Spurs Coach Disappointed In NBA Fine

San Antonio — Gregg Popovich said last night he doesn’t know if the San Antonio Spurs will appeal a $250,000 fine from the NBA for sending his star players home to rest instead of playing them against the Miami Heat.

Speaking publicly for the first time since NBA Commissioner David Stern handed down the stiff penalty Friday, the Spurs coach and team president said he was “disappointed” in the decision.

“What I do from my perspective is from a coaching perspective,” Popovich said. “And I think the league operates from a business perspective. And I think that’s reflective in the action that they took.”

Rather than play Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili — three of the NBA’s biggest names — against LeBron James and Miami in a nationally televised game Thursday night, Popovich put them on a plane and sent them home. It came at the end of a six-game road trip and after the Spurs had played five times in seven days.

That decision infuriated Stern. He apologized to NBA fans before the Miami game and vowed his office would hand down “substantial sanctions,” which Stern delivered on the next day. He said he “concluded that the Spurs did a disservice to the league and our fans.”

Popovich bristled when asked before last night’s game against Memphis whether he might nonetheless do the same thing, as the NBA’s reigning coach of the year often does when posed with hypothetical questions. But he didn’t rule it out, either.

“I don’t have a crystal ball,” Popovich said.

Heat 102, Nets 89

Miami — Dwyane Wade scored a season-high 34 points, LeBron James added 21 points and Miami rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat Brooklyn.

Ray Allen scored 13 and Norris Cole finished with 12 for the Heat, who won their sixth straight and remained atop the Eastern Conference. Miami held Brooklyn to 30 points in the second half.

Andray Blatche scored 20 points for Brooklyn, which had won five in a row. The Nets lost to Miami for the 12th straight time.