It was a familiar story for the San Antonio Spurs in their fifth straight loss on Sunday night. They got out to a hot start, but couldn’t fend off the veteran Miami Heat, as they lost at home, 118-113.
San Antonio led by 19-points in the first half, but had the lead erased as the Heat began to ratchet up the defensive pressure, and get to the rim on offense. The Heat outscored the Silver and Black 42-38 in the paint. The Spurs turned the ball over 17 times as the Heat disrupted their offense in the second half.
Despite leading by double digits in the fourth quarter, the Spurs couldn’t hold off the Heat from storming back late. Former-Spur Josh Richardson had 7 points in the last two minutes to close out the game for Miami. Duncan Robinson led all scorers with 26 points, including 4 deep balls.
Keldon Johnson led the way for San Antonio, putting up 20 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists and a steal. Victor Wembanyama was impactful, especially in the fourth quarter, on his way to an 18-point, 11-rebound performance.
The Spurs will hit the road for their second In Season Tournament game against Oklahoma City on Tuesday.
- The Spurs had a height advantage, but went away from the inside game too often to keep the offense clicking. Zach Collins was great in the paint when he got Haywood Highsmith on a switch. The center had 18 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Wembanyama was good around the rim, but elected to take 9 three-pointers, and a few more mid-range shots. Expect for the Spurs to look for more ways to get those two shots around the basket.
- Spurs fans in search of silver linings from the loss can look at the three-point percentage. Since Vassell has returned, the Spurs are shooting much better from three. Against Miami they hit 19 threes, shooting 43.2% from deep. Part of opening of the offense to work inside, is having the threat of hurting teams from outside. Improved deep shooting is going to help this team in the long run. Malaki Branham was particularly good from outside, knocking down 4 of his 5 attempts on the way to 13 points.
- Without Tre Jones, the Spurs relied on Jeremy Sochan to run point guard even more against Miami. Sochan had one of his best games of the season, putting up 16 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. He was excellent on defense, holding Jimmy Butler to 19 points on 5-14 shooting. Part of the appeal of “point-Sochan” is his defensive ability. He showed up big time on that end in the loss.