The Spurs hung tough with the Heat for most of the game, but the Miami defense clamped down on the Silver Black until Tyler Herro put the game away by walking into a series of cold-blooded triples that had Coach Popovich waving the white flag early. This was the Spurs 19th home loss this season, cementing a losing home record for the first time in 25 years. The Spurs are once again below .500 at 28-29, but they’re still 3.5 games ahead of the Pelicans for the final play-in spot.
- After tonight there are 15 games left in the season. The Spurs have a 3.5 game lead over the Pelicans for last play-in spot and it’s starting to look like they could just get into the play-ins not because they’re good, but because all of the teams below them are worse. This weekend’s matchup against Zion and the Pels in New Orleans could be a big factor in whether the Spurs are able to hold them off.
- Keldon Johnson blew a dunk attempt in the first quarter, and I’m not even mad at him. Those are the kind of free-flowing plays that make the game fun to watch, even if they don’t always work.
- Drew’s shoes are nice. The light blue color really works with the Fiesta Jerseys.
- Lonnie Walker is turning into a playmaker. His fluidity on the court opens up space for other players, and he’s been getting the ball to them in good spots.
- Jakob Poeltl inadvertently tipped a rebound attempt into the basket for the Heat, but made up for it with two blocks on the following possession.
- Coach Pop rarely uses his coach’s challenge, but he used it well tonight, taking a Bam Adebayo basket and potential free throw off the board, along with a foul assessed to the Heat big man.
- Crazy late whistles. Several times the Spurs were called for fouls well after they had secured the rebounds and were taking the ball down the court. They weren’t all bad calls, but if you’re waiting 3-5 seconds to make a call, maybe you shouldn’t make it.
- I kind of forgot Goran Dragic was still in the league. He’s always bad news for the Silver and Black.
- The Spurs allowed Tyler Herro to walk into open shots before the defense was set in the fourth quarter and he just was able to score easily without much effort.
The first four shot attempts from the Spurs were three pointers, and they hit two, while the Heat went inside for their points, with Bam Adebayo doing most of the damage. The Spurs let Duncan Robinson get free halfway through the quarter and he hurt the good guys with two open three point shots, leading to two quick Pop timeouts. The Spurs played the Heat even for the rest of the quarter and the scored was tied at 27 each after one.
The Spurs got into foul trouble early in the second quarter, with both Drew Eubanks and Jakob Poeltl picking up ticky tack fouls early, putting the Heat in the bonus early. The Spurs kept grinding back and the score was in a very narrow range with neither team leading by more than three for the entire quarter. The Spurs held on and led 53-51 at the half.
The Spurs rushed out to a quick 7 point lead to start the third, but Pop was unhappy with the effort and called a quick timeout. The Heat cranked up the defensive effort to high and they forced turnovers as they took the lead 65-64 with Adebayo forcing the ball inside and being awarded free throws for the effort. The Heat stretched the lead to 7 late in the quarter, but the Spurs held on, with the Heat leading 77-72 after an anemic 19 point quarter from the Spurs.
The defenses dominated as the final quarter began, and neither team’s offense was effective early, but Jimmy Butler’s clutch shot making gave the Heat an edge as they got their first double digit lead halfway through the quarter at 91-81, which Tyler Herro quickly extended to 16 with a pair of dagger triples. He continued the onslaught with yet another and with under 4 minutes left in the game, Pop waved the white flag, and put in Devin Vassell (who really shouldn’t be part of the white flag squad), Tre Jones, Luka Samanic and Keita Bates-Diop to finish out the game as it finished out in a rout, 107-87.
It’s warm in Miami tonight. Some may even say HOT HOT HOT. Too bad the game’s in old cold San Antone.
What’s Next . . .
For the Heat fans’ perspective, visit Hot Hot Hoops.
The Spurs finish up their mini-homestand tomorrow against the Pistons at 7:30, followed by a road make-up game in New Orleans against the Pelicans on Saturday.