‘‘Perhaps it'll give us an opportunity to stay on the court with Memphis on Saturday night,’’ Popovich said. ‘‘Historically, when you’re on a long road trip, that first game when you come home is really tough. And Memphis is one of the best teams in the league. They’re of much more concern to us than playing four games in five nights. It’s pretty logical.’’
Given Stern’s statement, it’s also logical to think that the Spurs could know their penalty by Saturday as well.
Popovich also said facing the Heat had nothing to do with his decision.
‘‘I've gotten letters from those people before when I've done it and I understand their perspective totally,’’ Popovich said. ‘‘If I was taking my 6-year-old son or daughter to the game, I'd want him or her to see everybody. And if they weren’t there, I'd be disappointed. So I understand that perspective. Hopefully, people in that position will understand my perspective, what my priority is — the basketball team and what’s best for it.’’
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Popovich’s move didn’t affect Miami’s preparation.
‘‘Each organization has a big-picture view of what they are trying to get accomplished and I think the league respects that,’’ Spoelstra said.
In this case, apparently not.
NOTES: A moment of silence was held before the game for Sasha McHale, the daughter of Houston coach Kevin McHale. Sasha McHale, 23, died Saturday. ... It was the third straight home game in which Miami trailed in the fourth quarter. ... The back-and-forth game ended a run of blowouts in the Heat-Spurs series. The previous five meetings were decided by an average of 24.8 points, including three 30-point games — two of those Spurs wins in San Antonio, the other a Heat win in Miami.