Heat Beat Spurs; It’s All In The Games

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SAN ANTONIO — We can only assume that everybody will eventually show up for a date in June.

In two games this season between the two best teams in the NBA, the list of the missing could make up the core of an All-Star team, if not partially fill a wing in the Hall of Fame.

Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green never even bothered to touch down in Miami back in November, instead boarding a Southwest Airlines flight from Orlando straight to home. For that little stunt by coach Gregg Popovich, the Spurs were reprimanded and fined $250,000 by commissioner David Stern.

At least LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers were in the house at the AT&T Center on Sunday night, but they weren’t in uniform and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was quick to offer up everything from video of the previous game to doctor’s notes to DNA mapping of the infirmed as proof that this was not tit-for-tat.

“I can see where you guys would draw those conclusions, but no,” he told reporters.

So how come the rest of the world can’t help but see this as a tale with more behind-the-crown royal conniving than “Game of Thrones”?

Give the Heat the leg up in the head games with their undermanned 88-86 win that came on Chris Bosh’s 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left in the game.

“It is very special to us,” Bosh said after ringing up 23 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots. “Just to be able to compete at a high level continuously, no matter who we put out there.”

Even the league office seemed to get in on the big tease by assigning burr-under-the-saddle lead referee Joey Crawford to the game in San Antonio, where he is historically an antagonist rivaled only by Gen. Santa Anna.

There is little the commissioner can do this time except throw up his hands in frustration and, with retirement looming in barely 10 months, know this will then be Adam Silver’s conundrum.

Despite howls of protest coming off the Riverwalk, there will be no fines levied against the Heat, because Chalmers was held out Friday night in New Orleans, it was documented that James required extra stretching at halftime of that game and, of course, the reckless Wade is always one more tumble to the floor from coming apart at the seams.

It is the time of the long regular season when every NBA team is bruised, beaten and battered and those with legitimate hopes of making a deep run to a championship must keep an eye on the overall health and condition of the roster.

“These things happen,” Spoelstra said. “That’s the deal with playing a physical sport and the demands of an 82-game season.”

When informed by reporters before the game that James and Wade were sitting, Popovich, playfully staggered backward in mock shock.

“What kind of (expletive) is that? Are you kidding me? What a bunch of rummies. That’s below the belt. Who would think of something like that? There’s no place for that.”

Ho-ho.

Yet anyone who can tell a basketball from a kumquat knows that if Miami’s historic streak had still been alive and the Heat came gunning for 30 in a row, everybody would have been on the floor if it had required duct tape and super glue to hold them together instead of leaving even a hint of funny business.

“Oh, I don’t think the commissioner would find any humor at all in that subject,” said Heat forward Shane Battier. “Though I’ll admit there is a bit of irony. But for now, how we match up with our full teams is all stuff to talk and speculate about and play on NBA Live.”

The Spurs reserves had almost pulled off a similar result on Nov. 29 when they pushed the full Miami lineup with James and Wade to the limit before falling 105-100. The Heat backups simply took it one step farther, fueled by an understood lack of appreciation.

“We’ve got gamers in this room,” Battier said. “You’ve got the sigh of the arena, a collective groan, I guess you could say: ‘Oh, we’ve got watch these clowns for 48 minutes?’ But these clowns have a lot of fight in them. The Fighting Clowns.”

The circus leaves town with Miami now three games up in the standings and holding the tiebreaker on San Antonio in the race for the league’s best overall record and home-court advantage all the way through The Finals. The Spurs are still wrestling with the Thunder for the No. 1 seed in the West, currently holding a two-game lead, but facing a prickly gantlet of Memphis, OKC and Denver in their next three road games.

But all those other teams seem secondary to the challenge that the Spurs would pose to the Heat’s designs on repeating as champs. They are big and athletic and move the ball on offense in a way that will always push Miami to its considerable defensive limits.

This was finally going to be the heavyweight prelude to the playoffs, a test, the measuring stick. Instead these are two teams, two entire organizations that continue to look more like Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao circling and making excuses.

“At least with those two guys, all it takes is the right amount of cash,” Battier said. “In this case, a lot of other things have to line up right to make it happen. We know we’ve got a fight on our hands in the East. They’ve got to work their way out of the West. It’s a long way to June.”

When presumably, everyone would finally show up.
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68 Comments

  1. Marco29 says:

    Game intensity is rising almost reaching playoff mode. Spurs have had a hell of a schedule playing 5 games in a row against playoff teams among the best, all decided by 2 points or less. They won 2 (DEN, LAC) and lost 3 (HOU, MIA, MEM). If they want to hold on #1 in the west, they need to be more clutch on offense and defense. they still have to face OKC, DEN, ATL, LAL and GSW, mostly on the road, before the end of the season.

  2. W/E says:

    aww man this team can do without LBJ and Dwade, that simply shows u how much help LBJ has, the guy has great teammates so next time u talk about how LBJ doing all the work “alone” and how great he is remember first that he has a team full of good players who can stand out against anyone, i mean comon the Heat without him would still be Championship contenders, Dwade and Bosh and the supporting cast are enough to win against anybody.

  3. mee(a)T says:

    The thing that surprised me in that game was that in the first half, the Spurs had sooo many open looks. Thank god Manu wasn’t there..

  4. I Hate The Heat BANDWAGON says:

    I bet 99!% of the comments here came from the heat bandwagons

  5. like_basketball says:

    I have read many comments and observerd one thing, “No Matter how HEAT win the games, 98% of comments are against that team and about LBJ” and I still do not understand WHY?.

    People should really start respecting the players how they play no matter where they came from and for what team they playing for.

  6. Hawks Fan says:

    Just a reminder :The heat actually swept the four best teams in the western conference. Spurs, OKC, Nuggets, Clippers

    • Chris says:

      …do you even research before commenting? They’re 1-1 with clippers. LAC pummeled them at the Staples center only to get steamrolled in Miami. Series is split. Memphis and LAC have been fighting for spot number four, they split the series with Memphis as well. I personally think OKC is scared of Miami. I’d say the grizzlies beat Miami in the finals before the thunder do. Seriously, I only see the Grizzlies, spurs and nuggets as threats to Miami in the finals. But you never know what will happen

  7. Kwolio says:

    And it all started when Tiago Splitter left his man Bosh… The Spurs will need Splitter and scrubs to rev up this playoffs should they win it all…

  8. Joseph says:

    Resting players is part of the game no hard feelings…

  9. Joseph says:

    It was a good win for the heat hope we see y’all on the finals

  10. sanjay says:

    the heat players are no where near tired man! kobe is clocking 40 plus minutes every game even at this age compared to miamis mid 30′s minutes of under 30′s superstars! So they will be quite ready come play offs. It is good to see lewis’s, millers, anthonys getting some good minutes before the playoffs! They are quite good in their own right!

  11. rich says:

    I don’t care – HEAT and SPURS $uckS BIG TIME.

  12. steve says:

    Sometimes it is form over substance

    Riley / Spolstra know how the NBA’s front office rules work. Spolstra said what he needed to say to the reporters. He prepared for this on Friday night when the Heat were up 20 in a meaningless game by resting James in the 4th Quarter and holding Chalmers out. He documented the injuries, know matter how suspect.

    Pop on the other hand disregarded the rules and did what he wanted without even a pretense of a legitimate excuse. Stern could not, by rule, fine Pop for benching players. So instead he fined him for untimely notice of injuries. Pop gave Stern a loophole and Stern whacked him with it.

    I’m sure Stern is upset at Spolestra and the Miami Heat today. I doubt he is in favor of this sort of gamesmanship between SA and MIA. The fans who paid big dollars for those tickets missed out on seeing the stars of the NBA. (I wonder how much SA paid if they bought their tickets on Stubhub a week ago – when this game looked like it might have been the last challenge to Miami’s streak)

    Pop might be a master at the game of basketball, but he’s a rank amateur when it comes to dealing with the NBA front office and its rules. Heat 1. San Antonio 0.

    As for the two games – they were nearly identical. The reserves played inspired while the other team let their guard down until the fourth quarter. But Miami kept one, often forgotten, star on the court in Bosh – and he made the difference. Heat 2. San Antonio 0.

    As for round 3 – that will be next year. OKC will be playing MIA in June. (I actually don’t think SA will advance past the 2nd round)

    • jose says:

      However , there is a difference.
      When the police arrives to make arrests in a fight, they simply ask: ‘Who started the whole thing….who was the instigator?’ and then the punish the instigator. The other guy walks free.
      Well , SAS started the whole thing and they got fined accordingly , while Miami .following the standard procedures, walked free. That simple.

  13. Dont ever click AHOLE says:

    I was pretty sure that I would find “Don’t ever click my Name. You have been warned” in this comments section… I guess he doesn’t have an excuse this time to hate on MIAMI since Lebron and Wade didn’t play and still won

  14. bitch please says:

    A close game deym! at the end of the day Heat still won… sayonara

  15. Strawhat says:

    Miami can still make the playoff in a 82 games season in the east even without james and wade this shows how good ther bench is..but of course they probably end up on 6,7 or 8 position

  16. SPURS GLADIATOR says:

    I NORMALLY DON’T RANT ABOUT REFEREES MAKING WRONG CALLS…BUT THIS ONE IS DIFFERENT….The CLEARLY WRONG CALL ON NORRIS COLE at such a critical time changed the outcome.

    • sick says:

      just like the flops of Parker? Lol
      yeah refs are making WRONG CALLS i believe…

    • jose says:

      It is not the referees management.
      . Is that SAS could not match Miami’s Speed and #-point shooting. So, you can tell what is going to happen when the 3 Dobermann ( LBJ, DW and Rio) jump back in against SAS ,if …if…SAS finally wins it all in the West.

  17. Big Al says:

    This is what happens when an opponent is taken too lightly. No LeBron and Wade, easy – not! The Spurs were expected to breeze through this, but they couldn’t get away and ultimately lost. It is the reverse of last time when Coach Pop infamously sent Parker, Duncan, Ginobili and Green home before the game at Miami, but the red guys won on both occasions. But James and Dwyane did have genuine injuries that time, and their team is trying to rebound from the broken streak, so it wasn’t payback unlike what detractors say.

  18. DJ3 says:

    NBA Live? N… B… A… LIVE?!! You kidding me Shane? 2K is the only NBA game that has been fully released the last 3 years! Know you video games before you start talking!!

  19. ko0kiE says:

    wow.. now everyone is whining about the foul call on cole… kawhi tripped him up.. not intentional but it’s still a foul. anyway.. the game was not decided in one play.. spurs did not defend the 3 point line very well, that hurt them. without james and wade, miami had no paint penetration but still moved the ball outside the perimeter..

    I give a lot of credit to Spoelstra.. his system works even without james and wade. not that good without that many dribble penetrations and post ups, but defensively they were all over ‘em.

    • JMAC says:

      KoOkie – the foul call on KL was bogus. Even without slow mo replay you can see that KL never touched Cole, but simply stepped back and Cole’s own motion made him fall. That was the deciding call in the game in my opinion. Great clutch shot by Bosh and that is they way the game goes sometimes, but lets not act like it was a good call. Still a tough test in the West in the playoffs with whoever the 8 teams will be, but hope to see Spurs and Heat battle it out in the end with everyone on the court for a best of series!!

      • Chris says:

        Doesn’t matter. San Antonio shouldn’t have put themselves in the position for a bogus call to cost them a game. I’m a spurs fan but great job Miami. Spurs will be fine though, they’re one of the toughest teams in the league and can definitely still win a championship. Though the Heat are definitely capable of it as well which is why I say let’s wait or the playoffs before further speculation on these two teams. This is the NBA where amazing happens and amazing can be anything as crazy as the Knicks eliminating the Heat. It probably will never happen but you just never know, there’s still plenty of games left to be played, possible injuries etc.

  20. Freida says:

    The Spurs were fined because the league and the team never knew they were being scratched and he wanted to rest the players in November. Give me a break resting in November. On top of that Pop sent them home from Orlando? Orlando is close to Miami. But the worst of it was that it was televised on ABC. That is a big difference between NBAtv and ABC. Spoestra proved that his players had injuries. Pop just wanted to rest his players. Poetic justice.

    And you can’t say that the Spurs didn’t try and beat Miami. Both were playing to win. Go Miami Heat!!

  21. ALANAN says:

    “But for now, how we match up with our full teams is all stuff to talk and speculate about and play on NBA Live” lol I don’t think Battier knows that NBA Live hasn’t been released in years and 2k is the only NBA game on the market

  22. Jack says:

    @Procopio,..it seems you didnt watch the game,..thank you Metta World Peach for the side, this guy is genius i think,..lol

  23. John says:

    This game just shows how dangerous the Heat have become.

  24. Clone says:

    See the difference with Game 1?
    This time, you didnt go EMO and used the “Breaking News” button for just a benching… and nobody has been fined, Stern hasnt show up to extend your drama :D

    Oh, and Spo. made a nice job defying Pop. the same way. The psychologic war started. Would be a great confrontation in the Finals.

  25. mettaWORLDpeach says:

    @prospero: why? because they dont talk about your own team?? lol

  26. mettaWORLDpeach says:

    ahhh come on enough is enough.. just looking by the schedule dallas will make the playoff..

  27. Prospero says:

    nba.com has become a heat fanpage . . off-putting

  28. CB3 says:

    hey procopio please listen to the reporter he said coach erik didn’t call a timeoout .. what the hell?? you must used your mind ..

  29. benjie says:

    The heat are awesome,great chemistry.And you could see these plays when they sit wade and james together,And supporting role players still hold the game.It solidify how deep miami’s bench is.They have a complete package -3 point shooters well pick your poison,If you double team someone gonna be free.And they are deadly on threes.
    With james and wade energised and rest.Hopefully the miami heat will be a stronger and better team compare to the heat team who won the title last year.And good job chrish bosh for giving the miami heat a got to guy when the team needed him most.
    Conclusion-If they meet in the finals ,I think miami will win it in 5 games mark my words.

  30. giltz_68 says:

    @ procopio

    they have timeouts..1-20 and 1 full timeout..

    Lucky Chris for the Clutch shot..good game miami.

  31. Trevor Dylan says:

    Weren’t the Spurs fined for resting their guys? Is there special treatment going on here? What is the difference?

    • Game Time says:

      Yeah fined for resting them and sending them home. Miami listed them as injured and they were still in the building. Not saying either one is right, but in terms of correct procedure/loophole Miami didn’t violate any that the league has in place. It’s kind of like a kid ditching school for no reason, and one claiming he’s sick even if he really isn’t. The later will get off without punishment.

      • Marco29 says:

        There has always been a thin line between diplomacy and hypocrisy. Pop’s move was just too obvious and a slap in the face to Stern and the schedule. At least he did not pretend that his players were hurt nor did he complain about Miami resting their players.
        Now, basically, the schedule is overpacked but it is a matter nobody is talking about. Playing in average 3.5 games/veek during 5.5 months with today’s intensity while travelling back and force though time zones is a huge effort especially for aging players. The players, the owners and the NBA should be more carefull otherwise players will get hurt more and more or we will be likely faced with a doping scandall in few year’s time. Rather than arguing only about money, the Player’s union should have been more concerned about player’s health during the last CBA.
        Some coaches like Pop and Spoelstra have undertsood that they have to rest players once in a while to keep them healthy as long as possible but not all coaches are free to do that and it should not be only their concern. And certainly, they should not be fined for it.

  32. NBATrueFan says:

    Like I said before, Miami deserves the same fine the Spurs got. That being said, neither team should have gotten a fine in the first place.

  33. Procopio says:

    Hey jack, erik and the heat are already out of timeout. Please use your mind

    • mettaWORLDpeach says:

      ahhh come on enough is enough.. just looking by the schedule dallas will make the playoff..

      • mettaWORLDpeach says:

        out of time out?? are you kidding me? they have 1 20mins and 1 full time out.. did you even watch the game? ZZZzzzzzz

  34. Darius27 says:

    @ m4yh3m1

    An absolute CLOWN. Bosh has no lackluster games. I am a heat fan and I would recommend for you to study basketball even before talking like that to Bosh. He has transitioned his game from a PF to a rightful and respected Center. Rarely can a player do that. He also does the dirty work in cleaning up boards and blocking shots. Basketball ain’t about scoring ya’ll. It’s defense man. Capital DEFENSE. He is part of the Big 3 even if he does not score 20 and above. Clearly as well they beat one of the top teams in the overpowered Western Conference.

  35. NBAfan says:

    This just shows you that the Miami HEAT is a great team, and that it’s not all about Lebron, and it’s not all about Wade and Lebron.

    I’m happy that Bosh had a chance to remind the world he’s an all-star caliber player.

  36. Franz says:

    If the Spurs played well enough in the preceding 47 minutes, that tripping call on Leonard would not have mattered. Miami deserved the win…and I’m a Spurs fan!

  37. ball don*t lie says:

    check out the Rugby WC. The teams, including the USA, regularly save key players for specific matches to try to get to the final with their best team. No best of 5 or best of seven in the final.

    BTW, the most the Commonwealthers won’t admt to the NBA being a real sport. Its the time outs and tv reviews that they can’t stand. Also the lack of bllod is a big factor. Tslking about salaries just inflames the wound.

  38. acryn says:

    spurs team was better only interms of big numbers on standings infact how many times did spurs did it,spurs team leads in west how many times?in playoffs they failed but i dont think this year the spurs team came to nought again who knows this team will face the eastern finalists i hope so and i really like the battle between miami heat and san antonio spurs in finals this coming june perhaps both teams played without superstars inshort they’re even but the miami prevailed 2x this season not bad for miami team sweeping the top teams on west,ill bet miami vs spurs on finals thnx

  39. jake s says:

    I thought both teams played below their level. It makes sense because all of the good play makers sat. This sitting of the players isn’t injury related as much as it is psychological. (just ask Kobe with a bone spur). The pressure is on for everyone, i think this resting nonsense needs to come to an end, and stern must tighten up the rules. Whats 250,000 to ballers like them? Will you please remind me?

  40. Raymond says:

    If the Lakers make the playoff, the best team to face and move on to the second round are the San Antonio Spurs.

  41. Jack says:

    well it happens,..foul is foul and they should accept that, if Tim had made that shot i dont think you will comment on this,..did we not see the brilliance of this bench players of the Heat?…coach erik did not call a timeout coz he knows how good his counterpart is, they might sense a play for the wing players to make a 3 to win, and Allen drove the ball down, there the ploy happens, they thought Ray will make that last shot, what he did was to create for CB for a 3!! thats it,…now tell all the world again how bad the Miami bench is??…hahaha

  42. m4yh3m1 says:

    WOW, after a few lacklustre games, Bosh finally showed he still has what it takes to be a part of the big3 in Miami.

    Not taking anything away from the rest of the team cause they all played quite good today. Shows what a few extra touches does for everyone when you don’t have LBJ & Wade taking 30 shots per night but they did miss their defense and great switching ability to get to the Spurs outside shooters.

  43. Hardenfan says:

    The longer the season, the better the chance teams like OKC & Denver will beat the Spurs. Spurs were once the greatest but some of their key players peaked in the past & on the decline.

    • Jordan says:

      Lol that’s what everybody has been saying for about 3 or 4 years and look at SA now. They’re at the top of the league and they beat OKC and Denver already

  44. Chris says:

    Spurs didn’t show up tonight. I’m not going to downplay miami’s effort though. I’m actually happy for Bosh, he had a great game and that three point shot was one of the best plays of the season in terms of over all clutch. I don’t care for the heat but it’s nice to see guys who often slip under the radar thanks to the spotlight Lebron and Wade share come out big.

    People will blame the refs for the game and I’ll agree the Cole call was suspicious, point is spurs shouldn’t have put theirselves into the position for Cole’s free throws to matter. Terrible showing, maybe they didn’t care, Pop sure seemed too relax for my liking. Ah well the Heat have lost to worse this season, (wizards without Wall) all that matters is the playoffs. I look forward to a tough NBA finals where both teams play well, I hope this will be the matchup