Popovich surprised that Sarver wasn’t wearing a “chicken suit” when making comments…
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San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has hit back at Phoenix Suns owner Roberto Sarver after he criticised them for not playing their star names in pre-season.
Sarver addressed the supporters in Phoenix on Thursday night to apologise to the fans because the Spurs had arrived without several key players and Popovich himself.
“This is not the game you paid your hard-earned money to watch,” Sarver told the crowd.
“I apologize for it. And I want you to send me your tickets if you came tonight with a return envelope and I’ve got a gift for you on behalf of the Suns for showing up tonight. Thank you.”
The Spurs were without Kawhi Leonard (eye infection), Tiago Splitter (calf) and Patty Mills (rotator cuff) due to injury, while both Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili were left at home to rest.
Meanwhile, Popovich elected to have first-year assistant Ettore Messina handle head-coaching duties and explained that after a long European trip, he had opted to leave his elder statesmen at home.
However, he also had a few choice words to say about Sarver’s speech.
“The only thing that surprises me is that he didn’t say it in a chicken suit. I’ll just leave it at that,” Popovich said.
“As I said, the silliness begins. Most wise individuals would check facts before they made statements; unless you’re interested in putting on a show. In that case, the facts get in your way, as in this case.”
San Antonio have a history of resting players and they were fined $250,000 by the league in December 2012 for sending home Ginobili, Duncan, Tony Parker and Danny Green rather than play them in a nationally televised game against the Miami Heat.
However, Popovich doesn’t believe that this is the same as the situation forced him into many decisions due to injury and rest after a 13-day European trip.