Gregg Popovich chose to rest Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili against the Golden State Warriors. With Tony Parker already sidelined by an injury to his calf, the choice to sit the rest of the Big 3 was a logical one. This was the Spurs second game of a back to back, fifth game in seven nights and seventh game in ten nights. The schedule had not given his players enough rest, so Pop took it upon himself to make sure his players didn't overextend themselves in the early part of the season. It was a wise decision, regardless of how the game played out.

The Warriors, on the other hand, came into this game at full strength. Andre Iguodala made his return from injury in their previous game and Steph Curry's often hobbled ankle has been relatively healthy this year. Even the often injured Andrew Bogut looked spry; well, spry for a 7-footer with limited mobility.

It seemed obvious that the Spurs were destined to get blown out of the Oracle Arena, and the start to the first quarter cemented that notion. The Spurs' B Team looked overmatched early on and the Warriors jumped out to a 23-11 lead. It made sense. Without their Big 3, that's exactly what the world expected.

However, the best bench in the league did not go quietly. In fact, they bunkered down and played a fantastic game. The bench cut the lead to five points by the end of the first with great defense and good shooting. With a plethora of excuses ready to explain away a blowout, the Spurs chose to use none of them tonight.

In the second quarter, the Warriors seemed to get fed up with the undermanned Spurs and built their lead to 14 points. Once again, it seemed as if the expected blowout was imminent. But once again, the Spurs' bench players responded with tenacity. Their defensive intensity was present throughout the entire game and they forced the Warriors into committing turnover after turnover. Behind strong performances from Kawhi Leonard, Patty Mills and Marco Bellinelli, the Spurs battled their way back into the game. Timeouts weren't enough to calm the rattled Warriors, and the Spurs took a two point lead into the half.

In the third quarter, Marco Bellinelli caught fire. He scored 17 points in the period. The NBA's best 3-point shooter put on a show tonight. He finished with 28 points making 10 of his 16 shots. His play throughout the game was what allowed the Spurs to compete. The Spurs owned the third and went into the fourth leading by eight, 82-74.

The pessimist in me was waiting for it to all fall apart. It just seemed so ridiculous to expect the Spurs to keep it close, let alone lead at this point in the game. To hope for a win felt greedy. There's no way the basketball gods would allow it to happen.

I kept having flashbacks to the infamous Miami game last season when Pop rested everyone and the Spurs were fined $250,000 by David Stern. In that outing, the Spurs' B Team put up an admirable fight but ran out of gas and lost the game in the fourth quarter. It's just too much to ask of bench players to flip a switch and go from playing 12 minutes to 35 minutes with all the added defensive and offensive responsibilities that go along with it. It's not supposed to be sustainable and it never is; well, almost never.