You would think that the night after blowing a 24-point 2nd half lead, the Miami Heat would come out with amazing focus and a supreme effort in order to redeem themselves and get back on the right track. Granted, nothing would come easy when playing on the 2nd night of a back-to-back set, especially when doing it on the road against the best team in the NBA.
Still though, considering the circumstances of having lost two straight home games that could have just as easily been victories as they were defeats, the way that Miami came out against the Spurs last night was as bewildering as it was embarrassing. Halfway through the 1st quarter Dwyane Wade hit a triple, making the score 17-11 in favor of San Antonio. Things would get pretty ugly after that.
Over the next few minutes the Spurs Matt Bonner nailed three wide-open 3-pointers. What really sucks about that is all 3 of those triples came on the heels of a Miami Heat offensive foul. That's pretty demoralizing, which could be part of the reason why following that D-Wade 3-pointer I mentioned, the Heat closed out the 1st quarter missing 8 straight shots and turning the ball over 5 times.
San Antonio, meanwhile, went on a 3-point parade during the opening 12 minutes. They hit 8 buckets from downtown and finished the quarter holding a giant 24-point lead over Miami. That's not surprising considering the Heat made just 4 of their 18 shots and scored 1 lonely point over the last 6+ minutes. The Spurs shot 12-for-24 from the field, but were deadly from 3-point range.
They hit 8-of-11 from beyond the arc while making just 4-of-13 from inside the 3-point line. The reason I'm spending so much time highlighting what went on in the 1st quarter is because that's where this game was lost by Miami. After the horrid 2nd half they put up the night before against Orlando, they basically extended that effort all the way from Miami to San Antonio.
The Heat didn't give up though, as Chris Bosh and LeBron James did what they could to make a game of it before the half. Bosh scored 7 quick points in the first 3½ minutes of the 2nd quarter to get the ball rolling. Then after Mike Miller hit back-to-back 3-pointers, LeBron grabbed the reins. He scored 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting, and Miami put up 38 points to cut the Spurs lead in half, from 24 to 12, heading into the break.
That would be as close as the Heat would get though. They actually had a pretty decent offensive game, discounting the 1st quarter of course, but were pretty horrible defensively from start to finish. The Spurs must have felt like this was an extended shoot around because of all the open looks they were getting, and they most certainly took advantage, hitting 56% from the field and assisting on 29 of their 46 field goals.
- Chris Bosh had a pretty solid game that went virtually unnoticed. He finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds for only his 2nd double double in his last 8 games.
- The Spurs opened the 1st quarter outscoring Miami 9-2, then closed the quarter on a 19-1 run.
- LeBron James finished with 26 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists, but 15 of his 26 points came in the 2nd quarter.
- A night after Orlando hit 16-of-29 (55.2%) from downtown, the Spurs made 17-of-28 (60.7%).
- The Heat is now 1-8 against the top 5 teams in the NBA (San Antonio, Dallas, Boston, Chicago and the Lakers).
- San Antonio's starters put up 67 points while their bench added 58.
The Heat now get a day to try and remember how to play some of that great defense we saw earlier this season, then its back to work on Sunday when the Bulls come to Miami for an afternoon showdown. Until then...