Last time the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs played (November 29th), the Spurs rested Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Danny Green — basically their entire team — and they only lost by five points.
Tonight, the Miami Heat rested LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Mario Chalmers, who were all out with one “ailment” or another. While they might have been dinged up (LeBron certainly didn’t play like he was dinged up last game), there was a certain air of reciprocity about this move by the Miami Heat.
Without two of their superstars, the Miami Heat bench did what the San Antonio Spurs bench failed to do — they won. Chris Bosh was huge (yes, Chris Bosh actually played well – like Toronto Raptors Chris Bosh!) doing a little bit of everything, including hitting the game winning three (not a typo) that put the Heat up by two with 1.1 seconds left.
And let’s be honest, when will you ever see this tweet from Sports Center again?
(Answer: Probably next year when the Heat rip off a 50 game win streak and Spoelstra decides to start Bosh at point guard and Ray Allen at center just because.)
This game was a nail-biter from the beginning as the Spurs took a narrow 24-22 first quarter lead and then a 45-40 lead at halftime. Chris Bosh was great from the beginning, and had 10 points in the first quarter, 14 points at halftime, and 23 points total. However, while Bosh was great early on, the rest of the Heat were struggling — the next highest scorers were Haslem with six points, and Allen with five points.
This all changed after halftime as the Heat outscored the Spurs 31 to 19 in the third quarter, taking the lead with 5:47 left in the third quarter. Part of the Heat’s great third quarter was Mike Miller’s shooting (he finished with 12 points on 4-6 shooting from three point range) and Norris Cole (who finished with 13 points, but more importantly had only two turnovers). They were able to hang on as the Spurs came charging back from seven points down at the start of the fourth quarter thanks to the help of Duncan and Kawhi Leonard, who both finished with 17 points each.
The Miami Heat were successful largely due to San Antonio’s inability to shoot the three-point shot; they were 7-24 from three (29.2%). The Heat, buoyed by the three point shooting of Allen (2-5), Miller (4-6), Battier (2-4), and even Bosh (3-5), shot 42.9% from three.
Full Highlights From Tonight’s Game:
Popovich on LeBron, Wade, and Chalmers not starting: (Mock incredulity) “What kind of shit is that? Are you kidding me? Who would think of something like that? That’s below the belt. There’s no place for that.”
Bonus Video — Best Pop Quotes: