Doc Rivers admitted before Friday's game with the Blazers that he didn't like the $250,000 fine handed down by NBA Commissioner David Stern Friday night against the Spurs for sitting four of their players and sending them home for Thursday night's game against the Heat in Miami.
Gregg Popovich, a close friend of Rivers, did not dress Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Danny Green for the game on national TV Thurday night, sending them home on a Southwest Airlines flight. Popovich said he did what he needed to in the best interest of his team, which was playing a brutal stretch of four road games in five nights and finishing up a road trip.
Stern said in a statement announcing the fine that the Spurs did a "disservice to the league and its fans."
Rivers said he understood but sympathized more with Popovich.
"I don’t like it," Rivers said. "I do get the other side of it, but it's a tough one. You’ve got to coach your team to win in the long run."
Rivers said Stern and the league made a big deal of it when it happened right away, when the league issued a statement Thursday night.
"I think it was an action and a reaction personally, and I think the reaction was probably overdone [Thursday], and then all of a sudden you have to have an action," Rivers said.
Rivers was asked if he'd consider a similar move to rest veterans like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
"We’ll do it when we want to do it and we should be able to do it," Rivers said.
For more, including pregame video of Rivers on the fine and what the Celtics plan to do without the suspended Rajon Rondo, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics .