But this was not that matchup.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra made note of that with his first postgame
"No, it did not feel like the NBA Finals," he said.
Despite that, there were numerous positives for Miami, which got
guard Dwyane Wade back from the injured list, was able to rest
forward LeBron James in the fourth quarter and still had enough to
easily defeat the Spurs 113-101 on Sunday at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Heat forward Chris Bosh (24 points) starred as Miami improved its
home record to 19-3.
Bosh made 9 of 10 shots from the floor, including his 32nd 3-pointer
of the season, which is already a career high. He also made 5 of 5
from the foul line in 28 minutes.
James added 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists in 26 minutes.
The rest he got Sunday was no doubt important in the mind of
Spoelstra, but James had a different take on the subject.
"I've had a huge responsibility on me for a long time," James said.
"I have gone seven or eight years having a huge load. It doesn't
change for me. I'm happy to be that leader and carry that load, no
matter how big it is."
Wade, who had missed four straight games due to knee soreness, came
in off the bench for the first time since 2008 and had eight points
for Miami (32-12), which extended its modest win streak to three
Spoelstra said Wade, who played 24 minutes, came to him with the
idea of coming in off the bench as he tried to regain his flow after
the time off. The coach would not commit to starting Wade in the
Heat's next game, which is at home Wednesday against Oklahoma City.
"I understand that everybody is going to use this as a 'lightning
rod' subject to talk about for the next three days," Spoelstra said
of Wade. "I'm just glad he was able to play. We will take everything
day to day, but as he gets back into the mix, I'd like to get him
As a team, the Heat shot 58 percent from the floor and were never
"It's a bad combination if we are not disciplined defensively, and
they are making shots," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
San Antonio (33-11) was led by center Tim Duncan, who had 23 points.
Forward Boris Diaw added 15 points.
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Popovich said he was pleased with the job Diaw did
defensively on James.
"Boris doesn't look the part, but he plays the part," Popovich
said. "Boris has done a good job defensively on a variety of
guys. He takes pride in it, and we're going to continue to use
Before the game, James said the Spurs' arrival in Miami brought
back memories from the Heat's win over San Antonio in last
year's NBA Finals.
"It was one of the greatest Finals the NBA has ever seen," James
said. "I was ecstatic, excited, humbled and blessed to be a part
The Heat on Sunday, playing with all 15 of its players healthy
for the first time all season, came out firing, leading 8-0 two
minutes into the game. The Heat shot 72 percent in the first
quarter and took a 34-28 lead heading into the second.
Miami increased its lead to 58-50 at the half, overcoming 17
points by Duncan. The third quarter was more of the same as the
Heat outscored San Antonio 33-21 to take a 91-71 lead.
Bosh was perfect in the third quarter, scoring 12 points on
4-of-4 shooting from the floor and 5 of 5 on the foul line.
Spurs point guard Tony Parker, who jammed one of his fingers
early in the game, was held to 11 points and seven assists.
"(The finger) bothered me a little bit on my shot," said Parker,
who made 4 of 9 from the floor. "It happens."
NOTES: G Toney Douglas and F James Jones were the Heat's healthy
scratches. ... The wife of Heat G Ray Allen had a mural painted
of his memorable shot that helped beat the Spurs in Game 6 of
last year's NBA Finals. It hangs above their fireplace, and
Allen has called the shot the greatest of his career. ...
Injuries have forced the Spurs to use 15 different starting
lineups in 44 games. On Sunday, the Spurs were without three
starters: C Tiago Splitter (shoulder), F Kawhi Leonard (broken
right hand) and G Danny Green (broken left hand). ... The Heat
have used 12 different starting lineups. Their preferred lineup — Gs Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers, Fs LeBron James and Shane
Battier and C Chris Bosh — has been together for just 17 games.
... The Spurs visit the Houston Rockets on Tuesday.
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