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 MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -Tim Duncan and Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili were held out of the San Antonio Spurs' game at Memphis on Monday night.
Already locked into the Western Conference's No. 3 seed, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said before the game they would not play against the Grizzlies, the NBA's worst team. The Spurs were coming off a 91-86 loss at Dallas on Sunday.
Popovich acknowledged he wants to rest some of his key players.
``It's a fine line between staying away from injury and giving the body a little bit of a break,'' Popovich said. ``But as much as the body, it's the mental side of it. This late into the season, I don't think somebody is not going to get into or out of shape.
``I think the mental side of it is real important to maybe take a night here or there where it's not even on your mind - winning or losing. What you are going to do defensively or offensively. Just let it go, so that cup can fill up totally before playoff time.''
The decision means the loss of 55.1 points from the San Antonio offense. Duncan averages 20 points a game, while Parker scores 18.6 and Ginobili, the top reserve, chips in 16.5. Duncan also is the Spurs' leading rebounder at 10.6, and Parker hands out 5.5 assists a game.
Popovich also said it gives him an opportunity to get longer looks at bench players such as center Jackie Butler, who has played in only nine games this season.
``We've talked to all of the players ahead of time and told them to stick with their strengths, what their roles are,'' Popovich said. ``It's like we told Jackie the other night, this is not time to show us you are Moses Malone. You just need to do the basics, let the game come to you. You don't have to prove to anybody you're a heck of a player in one game.''
Duncan, who was ejected from Sunday's game after two technicals from official Joey Crawford, declined comment before Monday night's game on the situation. After Sunday's ejection, he said Crawford challenged him to a fight during the game and said the veteran official had a vendetta against him.
Popovich declined comment when asked about any history between San Antonio and Crawford, but said he doesn't expect the situation to escalate as far as Duncan is concerned.
``I don't wonder about something like that lingering with Timmy at all because he doesn't have a vengeful bone in his body,'' Popovich said. ``It will just be gone from his perspective.''
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