In a contest that was back-and-forth for most of the night, Devin Vassell stood up late with two shots of the highest degree to clutch up the win for the Spurs in Miami.
Early on in the matchup San Antonio was hanging tight but was being made to work incredibly hard for their points with the Heat’s vaunted defense on show. The more veteran team, the Heat, was getting the favorable call early in this contest, having a 13-3 free throw attempts advantage in the first quarter. The Spurs were going to have to find an advantage themselves and it was their bench that provided a spark to keep the score close with Miami. They were only down 4 after 1; 29-25.
The second started well for the Silver & Black with an 8-0 run courtesy of Devin Vassell to push them into the lead. On the other end of the floor the Spurs were suffering from a few defensive miscommunications which was giving the home team easy points. Zach Collins who has had a few rough games as of late due to foul trouble was having some success in this one, especially when Bam Adebayo sat. Collins was taking advantage of the matchup with the backup center, and former Spur, Dewayne Dedmon. With the game changing leads all the time it was Tre Jones who scored 5 points down the stretch in order to keep the Spurs in front heading into the half; 59-57.
A big reason why the Spurs got their first win in 11 tries on Thursday against the Rockets was due to a big third quarter, but unfortunately they weren’t able to replicate that as they got off to a slow start in the second half. In part due to their slow start, Tyler Herro got red-hot hitting four threes in the opening minutes of the frame. Fortunately for the Spurs, Keldon Johnson who broke out of his near month-long slump against the Rockets was continuing his momentum by allowing the game to come to him. KJ was relentless when attacking the rim and the Heat was unable to stop him without fouling. With frustration growing for Miami as they were unable to break away from the rebuilding Spurs, Erik Spoelstra turned to sharpshooter Duncan Robinson to give them a spark. But for the Heat that didn’t work out, as not only could Robinson not hit a shot but the Spurs hunted him on offense and scored off it. With this San Antonio went into the fourth up 86-84.
It was a quick start to the fourth with both teams running the floor and moving the ball well to get good looks. For Miami it was Jimmy Butler that was taking over their offense and doing a good job of getting to his spots and making the Spurs pay when they brought a second defender. For the road team it was Romeo Langford that was keeping the game tight as he was scoring at will when attacking Tyler Herro, who had no answer to stop the fourth-year swingman. With the game in the balance and the win on the line, Devin Vassell stepped up to hit two massive mid-range jumpers in a row to give the Spurs the advantage, who then got the stops they needed on the defensive end to take the win and go back to San Antonio victorious by 4; 115-111.
- Devin Vassell. After missing the contest with the Rockets due to knee soreness and being questionable to play in this one right up to tip-off, Devin Vassell played a really, really solid game. He came off the bench most likely due to being on a minute's restrictions as the knee recovers, but that didn’t stop Vassell from making an impact in this game. He scored 10 in the second quarter as he started to carve up the defense before closing the game out with the aforementioned two clutch jumpers. 18 points total but most importantly it seems like the Spurs have found their closer.
- Romeo Langford. If it wasn’t for those last two Devin jumpers the headline of this recap would probably have been something like, ‘The Romeo Langford Show in the Spurs win over the Heat’, because that’s how impressive Romeo was against Miami. Langford who has shown since he joined the Spurs last February that he is one of the more elite defenders on this team has slowly but surely started to round out his offensive game. And tonight he had his career-high with 19 points, showing off aggressiveness attacking the rim, soft touch floaters, and a corner catch-and-shoot three. Romeo who will become a restricted free agent this summer is starting to make a real case for the Spurs to keep him around for the long term.
- Team Effort. When you don’t have an ‘All-NBA’, ‘All-Star’ caliber type of player, to win games in this league you have to do it as a team, and in this contest that’s exactly what the Spurs did. They had 6 players in double-figures, 5 players with 2 or more assists, and 8 players with four or more rebounds. A real team effort on both ends by the Silver & Black.
Play of the night
Who else? What else? Why else?
Next game: Vs Cavaliers on Monday
After a quick one-game road trip the Spurs head back to the AT&T Center to face one of the Eastern Conference's best teams, the Cleveland Cavaliers.