Miami took advantage of a cold-shooting fourth quarter by the Spurs to win going away 111-101. The opening half saw a series of runs, with the teams resembling dueling racehorses, that put the teams ahead with each successive rebuttal.
A 19-0 run in the first quarter put San Antonio ahead, and they were able to leave the first half up 55-52 behind solid 8-for-16 3-point shooting. Though they stayed within striking distance through the first 3+ periods, the Spurs succumbed to the Heat’s veteran experience and tough defense in closing time, while losing their offensive edge in the process.
Miami’s trio of Bam Adebayo (22 points and 13 rebonds), Jimmy Butler (26 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 rebounds), and Tyler Herro (21 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds) provided the bulk of the output for the victorious Heat.
San Antonio was led by its star tandem Keldon Johnson (22 points and 3 assists) and Devin Vassell (18 points and 3 rebounds). Though the welcomed Jakob Poeltl (7 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals) back to the lineup and Malaki Branham (12 points) availed himrself well, there was not enough support from the other rotation players in the loss.
- I always cringed when the NBA did those Noche Latina and Ene-Be-Ah themed-nights, and these teams would come out with “El Heat” and “Los Spurs” uniforms. How much more cooler would “Los Espuelas” vs. “Los Calores” have been? Or in streetball slang ‘shirts and skins’ could have been “Camisas y Chicarrones?”
- The lower bowl of the arena tonight is absolutely cavernous.
- Miami’s recent injury list reporting has been comedic gold.
- Jeremy Sochan’s hair? Muy verde!
- Orlando Robinson is a wonderful name for a Miami player.
- Love the center court design!
- Yet another set of ‘winning’ (i.e., disrespectful) pronunciations of Poeltl’s last name courtesy of the Miami play-by-play Eric Reid: Pur-DELL (at the start of the broadcast). He later referred to Jakob as Per-TELL two times in the second quarter! I think I also heard John Crotty call hin “Portal.” To his credit, Reid said it correctly in the second half.
- The Chris Paul State Farm commercials jumped the shark years ago.
- Hustle Sequence of the Game #1: Late in the opening frame, Dewayne Dedmon thought he had Tre Jones beat backdoor on a pass to a cutting Butler, but Jones snagged the attempt like a pouncing cat and then drew a foul on Butler at the other end on a loose ball scrum.
- Sequence of the Game #1: In the final minute of the first half, Max Strus attempted a dunk that Zach Collins erased. Vassell converted an acrobatic layup at the other end over Adebayo.
- Jeremy’s Journey: When ESPN and SI writers are noticing his defensive versatility and contributions that don’t show up in the box score, you know Sochan is doing a lot of the right things.
- Beautiful Game Moment: Early in the second half, Poeltl brought down a Herro miss, chucked an outlet to Jones, who found a streaking Keita Bates-Diop running a post pattern for a dunk. Only one dribble seen.
- Keldon’s Kitchen: Though very known for his strong downhill game, he took a transition pass late in the first quarter - and seeing Duncan Robinson set up right in between he and the basket - did a Eurostep that would have made Manu Ginobili and Dwayne Wade proud to draw the foul and get free throws. This likely would have resulted in a charge in previous seasons. In the third period, he dribbled through several Heat defenders and found Sochan deep in the paint for a dunk.
- Herro scored seven of his team’s first nine points. Poeltl, on a minutes restriction, gave way to Zach Collins who immediately took an offensive elbow to the chops from Adebayo. The Heat seemed to have open shooters whenever and wherever needed, and Max Strus’ second three gave the Heat its first double-digit lead. Vassell coincidentally netted seven of San Antonio’s first nine points. The Spurs drew Miami into the penalty while dominating the boards to get easy scores as part of its own 19-0 run - punctuated by several dead-eye threes from Johnson and Doug McDermott. Malaki Branham even drew a take foul from Dedmon. The Spurs left a potentially depressing opening quarter up 28-25.
- Vassell airballed shots bookending the first and second periods. Two Adebayo buckets concluded a 9-0 run from the Heat to re-take the lead. Poeltl, after a pedestrian start, asserted himself at the offensive end with a dunk and a free throw. The teams traded blows over many minutes, yet stayed within one possession of each other. Sochan, after spoonfeeding Collins for a layup, was lured into his third foul by Butler. Despite the furious and entertaining back-and-forth action, San Antonio exited the half up just 55-52.
- The second half start was delayed for 30+ minutes for what NBA TV described as “lighting issues.” Butler asserted himself at the offensive end, while Vassell slammed home a transition dunk. Vassell was gifted three free throws on a suspect foul call. Consecutive threes by Herro shaved the Heat deficit to one and incited Reid to say “What a difference it makes when you got a Herro on your team!” Robinson’s hook briefly gave Miami an advantage, but Malaki Branham’s corner three (making him 3-for-3) put San Antonio up four. After Branham’s fourth three and Vassell’s free throws, the Spurs left the third up 84-80.
- The teams again traded buckets at the start of the fourth. A suddenly hot Duncan Robinson nailed a 4-point play to put Miami back up for good. Two blown free throws by Poeltl, a turnover by McDermott, and a missed bunny by Bates-Diop didn’t help San Antonio’s cause. Jones managed to draw a slew of fouls over several minutes to put the Spurs in the bonus with over seven minutes to go. Two Adebayo buckets put his team up ten. The Spurs were stripped on consecutive possessions, and Herro provided the clinching points.
For the Heat fan’s perspective, please visit Hot Hot Hoops.
San Antonio returns back to Texas to take on their I-10 rival Houston Rockets on Monday evening at 7:00 PM CDT.