Here you are 100% wrong. The buzzing in Stern's ear wasn't the fans, it was the television executives complaining their prime time game was ruined by a zealous coach. The same prime time executives that bid for games against other networks for coverage to drive advertising revenue, popularize their brand of coverage, etc. There's far more dollars driving Stern's actions here coming from the television companies than anything from "the fans."
I understand if you wanted to rest those guys down the stretch, but not 17 games into the season, and not all at one time, and not on a nationally televised game. The fans paid a premium for that game as well.