Three weeks ago, ABC came out loud and proud while touting its big Saturday night NBA showdown. Western Conference superiority, or something like that, was at stake with Golden State visiting San Antonio.

Instead, both rosters resembled an exhibition game.

Golden State, already without the injured Kevin Durant, decided to rest Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala on the last day of an eight-game, 13-day road trip.

At least San Antonio had a better excuse for its star-powered trio of Kahwi Leonard, Tony Parker and LaMarcus Aldridge being on the sidelines. All were legitimately injured.

Imagine shelling out big bucks to watch Patty Mills lead the way for the Spurs' 22-point victory.

The NBA has a serious problem and the best commissioner in sports, Adam Silver, knows it. The trend of teams resting their best players is growing more and more across the league.

It happened again last Saturday, once more in prime time on ABC. LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love sat on the bench and took the night off for defending champion Cleveland against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Network officials who paid $24 billion in the last NBA television contract negotiations aren't happy. No stars means no ratings which means advertisers taking a pass.

Silver sent out a memo this week to the league's board of governors calling the matter "an extremely significant issue for our league." It will be discussed at the owners' meetings next month.

It wasn't that long ago when Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were busting it every night for the Chicago Bulls trying to get the best record in NBA history. Heck, Golden State did the same thing last year in surpassing the Bulls' 1995-96 record 72-win total.

MLB stars occasionally get a day off, but usually it isn't three or four of a team's best players in the same game. NHL players would fight the coach rather than take a night off to rest.

The NBA regular season is too long. This just proves it.

NCAA Tournament: Kansas vs. Oregon (TBS, 7:49 p.m., Saturday): Off-the-court trouble hasn't made this Bill Self's smoothest season at Kansas, but the Jayhawks are poised to reach another Final Four.

NHL: Blackhawks at Lightning (NBCSN, 6:30 p.m. Monday): There probably won't be a Stanley Cup Final rematch between these 2015 finalists as Tampa Bay needs a strong finish just to make the playoffs.

Documentary: Reign Men: The Story Behind Game 7 of the 2016 World Series (Comcast, 9:30 p.m. Monday): To get you ready for the April 2 season opener, relive the tense final game as the Chicago Cubs mercifully end 108 years of futility. 

Contact Jim Benson at


Sports Writer

Sports Writer for The Pantagraph.

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