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How does second-guessing a coach's decision in favor of the fans getting to see certain stars on the floor improve anything other than ratings?
Maybe resting your players helps your team later in the season - it is about more than just the few games you play against the marquee teams still, isn't it?
Bottom line is that it is the coach's decision. If he screwed up a winnable game by sitting stars and it hurts him down the road, that's his mistake to pay for. Whether the fans deserve to see certain stars play has nothing to do with it.
Sitting out your players to work the schedule into your favor disrupts competitive balance. My argument has nothing to do with the fans or ratings. It's about what's right in my opinion. If Pop hadn't sent his players home during a road trip before the road trip ended, I wouldn't have cared. If he sat them for the game against the Magic in Orlando I wouldn't have cared. That would've actually helped competitive balance.
When the league creates a schedule, they take a look at the team's record the previous year. Teams that were really strong last year usually have more 4-games-in-5-nights scheduled. Teams like the Bobcats and Warriors have had a really favorable schedule to start the season. Sure the Spurs schedule has been rough and they've played a lot of games this month but every team in the league is going to have a stretch of games that is tough.
Another problem I have, although it didn't garauntee a win for the Heat, is that it gives a good team like the Heat an extra chance to win a game against lesser talent. That's not fair to the Pacers or the rest of the league. It's like if the Pacers had the opportunity to play the Wizards 5 times and the rest of the league only gets to play them 4 times.