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David Stern to punish Spurs for sending key players home

MIAMI -- The NBA plans to make San Antonio pay for resting four starters.

The Miami Heat almost could not.

Ray Allen's three-pointer with 22.6 seconds left gave Miami the lead and LeBron James scored 23 points in the Heat's 105-100 victory over the Spurs last night. Miami had to dig deep despite San Antonio's decision to have four top players resting at home in a move that bothered NBA commissioner David Stern.

The Spurs played without Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green, all sent back to San Antonio by coach Gregg Popovich, who said the move was in his team's best interest. Stern disagreed, calling the decision "unacceptable" and saying that sanctions against the Spurs will be forthcoming.

"I apologize to all NBA fans," Stern said. "This was an unacceptable decision by the San Antonio Spurs and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming."

After the game, Popovich said he was unaware of Stern's statement and declined comment about what it might mean.

"Oh, it would have been great if we won," Spurs forward Matt Bonner said after hearing about Stern's statement. "It goes back to what I was saying, I'm sure everybody else was saying before the game. We have faith in everybody on our roster. We think we have one of the deepest teams in the league."

The Heat didn't disagree. "We survived," Chris Bosh said. "And we won. They have a bunch of talented guys over there. I know that nobody's going to really give them credit, but they are a tough bunch."

How tough? Try this -- the Spurs led by seven with 4:48 left, and the margin was still 98-93 after Gary Neal made a three-pointer with 2:14 left. From there, Miami closed on a 12-2 run.

But all anyone likely will remember from this one is Popovich's decision -- and whatever Stern does as a result.

Warriors 106, Nuggets 105:Andre Iguodala's three-pointer as the buzzer sounded was waved off, and Golden State held on in Oakland.

New York Sports