And risked losing two games instead of one. That doesn't make sense.
Gregg Popovich said he made this decision when the schedule came out. And I believe him. He probably looked at the schedule, saw that they were most likely going to lose that game anyway (scheduling loss), so he figured it was a great opportunity to give his starters some rest. Popovich should have told Stern he was going to do it then.
I think the fact that he was so arrogant about it probably pissed Stern off. Nobody is more arrogant than David Stern. Nobody.