NBA commissioner David Stern slapped the San Antonio Spurs with a US$250,000 fine after the club rested a number of their top players in a game against the Miami Heat on Thursday.
Stern ruled that coach Gregg Popovich's decision not to have Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green make the trip to Florida was in violation of league policy against resting players "in a manner contrary to the best interests of the NBA."
The Spurs said they needed a rest because they were playing for the fourth time in five days in the finale of a six-game, nine-day road trip.
Despite being without four of their top five scorers, San Antonio's motley crew of bench warmers led 92-85 against the defending NBA champion Heat with under five minutes to go before Miami woke up to win 105-100.
"The result here is dictated by the totality of the facts in this case," said Stern.
"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."