If basketball games were won in the first quarter, the Miami Heat would have been in trouble against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night. The Heat started the game shooting 4-20 from the field. They trailed by as many as 19 points in the game.
Thankfully for the Heat, the game is decided by four quarters. The Heat quickly climbed back in the game in the second quarter. They overcame a hot-shooting fourth quarter by the Spurs with their defense and secured a 118-113 victory over the Spurs.
Duncan Robinson had a huge night, scoring a season–high 26 points on 8 for 16 shooting. He drilled four 3-pointers and made all six of his free-throw attempts. Bam Adebayo also helped lead the way for the Heat with 24 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, and three steals.
The Heat were without Kyle Lowry, who was unavailable due to rest. Josh Richardson started in his place for his first start of the season. He proved to be a key player late in the game. Richardson made two clutch shots with under two minutes remaining and played good defense on the hot-shooting Devin Vassell to end the game.
This was the Heat’s first regular-season look at the French phenom Victor Wembanyama. The Heat don’t have a lot of size on their team, so it was interesting to see how they would strategize against the 7-foot-4 rookie. Wemby had his way against the Heat in many possessions, finishing with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists.
On other possessions, the Heat did a good job of defending Wembanyama. They trapped him well and at appropriate times to force turnovers. They also did a good job of preventing him from taking over the game, especially in the fourth quarter.
The Heat did have trouble stopping the Spurs shooting. San Antonio cashed in 19 3-pointers on 43% shooting. If the Heat did not force 17 Spurs turnovers, they probably would have lost the game.
Overall, the Heat did a pretty decent job climbing back and winning this game despite being down a few key players. For the next game, they will have to put more emphasis on setting the tone early in the game and closing out to shooters.