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If Two NBA Teams Play a Game and One Team Rests, Did It Really Happen?



Several NBA players, coaches, and executives have talked about the idea of a “schedule loss” game. Meaning, they can see months in advance that their team is most likely going to lose that game because the circumstances surrounding the game are so difficult. This can be a four-games-in-five-nights situation, an east coast game back-to-back with a west coast game, or the Warriors ‘too-many-national-tv-games’ situation. Not all losses are created equal but a schedule loss can almost feel like a less legitimate defeat in the right context.


Tonight, the San Antonio Spurs created their own schedule loss by resting Kawhi Leonard, Pau Gasol, and LaMarcus Aldridge, having already secured the 2nd seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. So instead of the droves of Spurs fans in attendance witnessing the players whose jerseys doned roughly 30% of the AAC, these fans were graced with an alternative roster…


The Spurs starting five of Kyle Anderson, Davis Bertans, Jonathon Simmons, Dewayne Dedmon, and Patty Mills had only played 666 more minutes[note]*GASP*[/note] combined than Wes Matthews and Harrison Barnes had played combined this season, that isn’t a lot. Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Danny Green, and Dejounte Murray also did not play due to injury.


The Spurs have done this for years and seemingly no one has cared. The conversation of “resting players” has only recently received national media[note]#WeTheMedia[/note] attention when the Warriors rested Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala against these same Spurs back in March.


The team the Dallas Mavericks played against tonight was not the real San Antonio Spurs, as a matter of fact, they will now be called the San Antonio Jackrabbits because that sounds like a real D-League team.


In the first half, against the actual Mavericks team, the Jackrabbits were down by as many as 16 points before taking over in the second half. Bryn Forbes, Jackrabbits’ guard[note]and guy who most would assume was the son of the Forbes Magazine guy before thinking of him as an NBA player[/note], scored an incredible 22 points in the first half. Forbes was the first Spurs rookie since The Big Fundamental himself to score 20+ points in a half.


In the second half, Coach Carlisle pulled Dirk Nowitzki, Harrison Barnes, Wes Matthews, J.J. Barea, and Devin Harris and they were declared “done for the night.” Shortly after that Nerlens Noel played his last few minutes and Salah Mejri also did not play in the second half. Leaving just Yogi Ferrell, Dorian Finney-Smith, Dwight Powell, Nicolas Brussino, A.J. Hammons, and Jarrod Uthoff[note]Whose name I still spell wrong consistently[/note] on the floor for the Mavericks. While the Spurs continued with their limited starting five along with David Lee[note]Remember him?[/note], Joel Anthony[note]Remember HIM?![/note], and Forbes. At one point in the second half…



Arguably the Mavs five best players were sitting the majority of the 2nd half and most Mavs fans[note]not in attendance[/note] would not blame them. The Mavericks organization has seemingly no invested interest in winning now that the team has been officially eliminated from playoff contention for just the second time since Y2K. The more the Mavericks lose the better their lottery odds become. So on paper, winning hurts the future of this team.


Last night’s game had a tip-off, referees, two baskets, and several players receiving checks from NBA teams, but it turned into something far from an NBA caliber game. Resting players is something that Commissioner Silver has discussed, memo’d, and will certainly bring up at the annual NBA Board of Governors meeting this week.  Tanking is something Commissioner Silver has discussed, deflected, and has certainly brought up in past Board of Governor’s meetings. Last night these two issues collided in a game that was supposed to be a schedule loss for the San Antonio Spurs but ended up as a schedule loss for NBA fans of both teams.


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