Final Score: Spurs cool off Heat, win 111-87

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

In a solid two-way effort, the Spurs led the Heat the entire game, though the win never seemed guaranteed until the closing minutes.

Earlier this season, the Miami Heat routed the Spurs in Miami. Of course, the Spurs were without the defensive triumvirate of Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Tiago Splitter. This time, San Antonio was full strength and got a measure of revenge for last year's narrow defeat in the NBA Finals.

In the first quarter, San Antonio executed well on both offense and defense and the Heat appeared shell-shocked. A game removed from a season-high 39 assist effort against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Spurs once again put on a passing clinic en route to a 37-22 lead after one quarter, at one point making nine consecutive baskets.

The Spurs continued to defend well throughout the second quarter. Chris Bosh got loose for for nearly half of Miami's first-half points but Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, who went bananas the other night, scoring a career-high 61 points, were held in check by solid Spurs team defense. After one half of basketball, the Spurs led 62-51.

James, who'd been hounded by Kawhi for two quarters, picked up his fourth foul early in the third on a charge drawn by Tim Duncan, but it only served to energize James and the Heat. Down double digits for most of the night, the Heat cut the Spurs' lead down to 5 midway through the third quarter. Despite a 7-0 run by Boris Diaw and Kawhi Leonard that briefly recaptured the momentum, the Spurs entered the fourth quarter up only eight, 82-74.

As comfortable as the Spurs' lead seemed in the first quarter, their advantage was precarious at best at the beginning of the final quarter. The Heat ratcheted up their defense and LeBron was beginning to come out of the funk he'd been in since the second half of Miami's game versus the Rockets. The fourth quarter was a maelstrom of turnovers and hot tempers, but it was the cooler heads of the Spurs that prevailed, as Kawhi Leonard spearheaded an inspired late-game defensive stand, leading San Antonio to the 111-87 win.

Your Spurs are now 45-16 on the season.

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