If you like three-pointers and excitement, then this was the game for you. After three-straight games of the Spurs only averaging 92 ppg, both they and the Miami Heat were on fire from three tonight, and it made for quite the show. Tyler Johnson led the way for the Heat with 25 points on 5 of 8 from three, and Bryn Forbes hit a career high 5 of 5 threes on his way to 17 points.
The Heat were red hot to start the game, hitting 9-17 from three for a 58-57 halftime lead. The Spurs shot well too, but similar to the game against Detroit on Monday, they had to be reminded at times that they have a sizeable advantage in the paint against smaller teams, and that was especially true tonight with Miami missing Hassan Whiteside.
Gregg Popovich must have let them know during halftime, and they came out attacking the rim much more aggressively. That in turn opened up the perimeter more for guys like Forbes, who got the start ahead of Pau Gasol in the second half. However, the Heat remained hot from the arc as well as each team traded hay-makers. There were 12 made three-pointers in the third quarter overall, and Manu Ginobili had the final one for an 86-82 lead.
The Spurs finally asserted their will on both ends in the fourth quarter, starting on an 18-7 run, and that was enough for them to hold off the Heat for the 117-105 win. The Spurs had eight players score in double figures, including a team high 18 from LaMarcus Aldridge and 16 from Rudy Gay in his second start. They improved to 17-8 overall and 12-2 at home.
- This is not your big brother’s Heat. The only players remaining from the 2014 team that went to the Finals are Udonis Haslem and Tyler Johnson, and neither played much of a role beyond garbage time in that series. While the Spurs have seen plenty of turnover since then as well, they still have five of their top seven players from that championship squad.
- Manu’s knee appeared to buckle on an awkward landing in the first quarter. Fortunately he was able to walk back to the locker room on his own and returned (very quickly, I might add) to the bench by the end of the quarter. It must have just been a stinger, because his first action upon re-entering in the second quarter was a driving floater.
- Every shot Davis Bertans takes looks like it’s going in. His stroke is that pure.
- This is the third game in a row we’ve seen the officials enforce a rather obscure rule. Late in the first half on a collision between Kelly Olynyk and a driving Aldridge, the refs couldn’t decide if it was a block or a charge and called a double-foul, which assesses a foul to both players and results in a jump-ball. (For the record, the foul appeared to be on Olynyk since he was still moving sideways when they collided.)
- This is the first time this season we’ve seen Tony Parker in the fourth quarter, and he was extremely sharp. He had 10 points and 9 assists in a season-high 20 minutes of action.
- Dion Waiters continues to be a perpetual thorn in the Spurs’ side. He always finds a way to draw the oddest calls against the Spurs, and despite only shooting 31% from three this season, he was 4-6 from distance for 22 points tonight.
For the Heat fans’ perspective, visit Hot Hot Hoops.
The Spurs return to the AT&T Center on Friday to take on the Boston Celtics. Tip-off will be at 8:30 PM CT on ESPN.