NEW YORK, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- NBA Commissioner David Stern fined the San Antonio Spurs $250,000 Friday for resting four of their players at the end of a six-game road trip.
Prior to taking on the defending champion Miami Heat on Thursday, San Antonio Coach Gregg Popovich told Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Danny Green they could go home rather than traveling to south Florida.
Despite the absence of those players, San Antonio owned a six-point lead over Miami with 3 minutes to go before letting the game slip away.
The six games on the road were played in a span of only nine days and San Antonio won the first five contests of the season-long trip. Miami had not played for four days prior to meeting the Spurs.
Before the Thursday game Stern said the fact the four players were made unavailable was "unacceptable" and that "substantial sanctions" would be forthcoming.
In announcing the fine Friday Stern said the Spurs' actions were "contrary to the best interests of the NBA."
"The result here is dictated by the totality of the facts in this case," Stern said in a statement. "The Spurs decided to make four of their top players unavailable for an early-season game that was the team's only regular-season visit to Miami.
"The team also did this without informing the Heat, the media, or the league office in a timely way. Under these circumstances, I have concluded that the Spurs did a disservice to the league and our fans."
Popovich often rested key players late last season without drawing the wrath of the league office.
Brooklyn extends winning streak to five
ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Joe Johnson highlighted Brooklyn's dominating second half Friday and the Nets cruised to their fifth straight victory, 98-86 over Orlando.
Brooklyn raced to as much as a 21-point lead in the fourth period after the Nets had been only one in front at the end of the first half.
Johnson hit 10-of-16 from the field and made two of Brooklyn's 11 3-pointers on his way to 22 points. Gerald Wallace added 10 for the Nets and Andray Blatche had 14 points and nine rebounds.
Brooklyn went 11-of-of-20 from beyond the arc while Orlando hit just 1-of-11.
It was the third consecutive loss for the Magic, who came up with 16 points from Glen Davis.
McDowell leads by three at World Challenge
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell seized a three-shot lead Friday midway through the Tiger Woods-hosted World Challenge.
McDowell defeated Woods in a playoff to win this event in 2010, the same year he captured the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
He shot a 6-under 66 at the Sherwood Country Club to move to the top of the 18-player field at 9-under 135.
Keegan Bradley shot his second straight 69 and was tied for second with Bo Van Pelt and Jim Furyk.
Woods was alone in fifth place at 211 following a 69 that included four birdies in a five-hole stretch beginning at the par-4 ninth. He won the tournament a year ago, ending the longest victory drought of his career.
Nick Watney, who owned the first-round lead, shot a 73 and was tied for sixth at 212 with Rickie Fowler.
Yankees sign closer Rivera for $10 million
NEW YORK, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The New York Yankees announced they have signed closer Mariano Rivera to a one-year, $10 million deal plus incentives, a $5 million pay cut from last season.
The team announced the deal with Rivera, 43, after he told the team in October he wanted to pitch for at least one more year with the team, the New York Post reported Friday.
The deal is contingent on Rivera, who ended the season early with a torn right ACL in May, passing a physical.
The announcement came after Yankees catcher Russell Martin revealed he accepted a $16.5 million two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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