MIAMI – The San Antonio Spurs will be punished by the NBA for their decision to send four top players home and not make them available to play in Miami against the Heat on Thursday night.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said the decision to rest Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green – the core of the Spurs – was in the team’s best interest. The league wasn’t happy about it, and Commissioner David Stern promised that San Antonio would be penalized.
I apologize to all NBA fans, Stern said. This was an unacceptable decision by the San Antonio Spurs and substantial sanctions will be forthcoming.
Thursday’s matchup ended a six-games-in-nine-nights swing for the Spurs.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has tied Bill Elliott’s record of 10 consecutive wins as NASCAR’s most popular driver. Earnhardt won the award at the Myers Brothers Luncheon in Las Vegas. The award is presented annually by the National Motorsports Press Association. Jeff Gordon was nearly brought to tears when he was honored as winner of the prestigious Myers Brothers Award for outstanding contributions to NASCAR.
Washington has acquired outfielder Denard Span from Minnesota for minor league pitcher Alex Meyer, giving the reigning NL East champions a leadoff hitter and center fielder. Span is a career .284 hitter with 23 home runs, 230 RBI, 90 steals and a .357 on-base percentage during five seasons with the Twins.
Free agent outfielder B.J. Upton and the Braves have finalized a $75.25 million, five-year contract. Right-handed reliever Pat Neshek and the Athletics reached agreement on a $975,000, one-year contract, avoiding salary arbitration. Right-hander Felipe Paulino and Kansas City have agreed to a $1.75 million contract that avoided salary arbitration.
Around the NBA
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo was suspended by the NBA for two games for starting a scuffle with Brooklyn forward Kris Humphries. Celtics center Kevin Garnett was fined $25,000 for his role in the scuffle, and Nets forward Gerald Wallace was fined $35,000. Veteran point guard Derek Fisher has signed a contract with the Mavericks after passing a physical.
BCA gives A’s to 21 schools
The Black Coaches and Administrators have awarded grades of A to 21 of the 39 Division I schools that conducted head football coaching searches in 2011-12. The organization’s executive director said he was alarmed only six of the schools hired minorities. The report card is not based on how many minority coaches were hired. Rather, schools are evaluated based on criteria pertaining to the hiring process.
‘Honey Badger’ to enter draft
Tyrann Mathieu, an All-American cornerback nicknamed the Honey Badger who was kicked off the Louisiana State University football team before this season, will enter the 2013 National Football League draft.
Around the links
In Thousand Oaks, Calif., Nick Watney had a strong back nine that carried him to a 5-under 67 and a two-shot lead in the World Challenge. Tiger Woods, the tournament host and defending champion, had a number of good par saves and scratched out a 70.
In Sun City, South Africa, Bill Haas bogeyed two of the last three holes in the Nedbank Golf Challenge to slip back into a share of the first-round lead with Nicolas Colsaerts.
Around the NHL
The NHL, the players’ association and now even federal mediators agree on one thing: the bickering sides are nowhere near a deal that would put hockey back on the ice. The league and the union wrapped up two days of talks in New Jersey, with help from mediators, but moved no closer to a solution to save the hockey season that has already been delayed and shortened.
Wild goalie Josh Harding has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which attacks the body’s immune system and affects the central nervous system. The 28-year-old Harding told the Minneapolis Star Tribune he plans to keep playing.