LeBron James responded well to the Heat's first loss in over 50 days. He scored 36 points through the first 3 quarters against the Hornets before sitting out the fourth quarter with the Heat holding a large lead. James connected on 7 three-pointers and started a new streak for the Heat, who have won 28 of their last 29 games.
Now, they face a true challenge: The San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs hold a 32-4 home record and a 55-17 overall record, second best only to the Heat (57-15). The Spurs won a late game against the Clippers on Friday as Tim Duncan scored a late three-point play the old fashion way to secure the victory.
Earlier this season, Gregg Popovich faced a bit of criticism as he decided to sit Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili as the team visited Miami. The Heat won the game, barely, thanks to some late game heroics by Ray Allen. But it has been a while since these two teams have faced off at full strength, and that won't be Sunday either.
Popovich indicated that Ginobili would likely not play after tweaking a hamstring Friday night, so the Spurs will once again be under-manned. But Miami shouldn't rest, as the Spurs have plenty of weapons to keep them busy.
"It's always good to play the best, to play against the best," James said. "It'll be an opportunity for us. We just want to get better, man."
"It's obviously a very, very, very good team," Dwyane Wade said. "Very tough place to play, so I think our mentality and how we approach the game is going to be important. You just try to go out there and compete, as we do every night, try to get a great road win. It's not going to be easy but that's kind of what we enjoy."
The game will likely set the coarse for either relaxation or intensity for the rest of the Heat's season. While being two games up in the loss column from the Spurs, a win would give them a three game cushion, and essentially a four game lead with the tie breaker. The Heat have 10 games left in the regular season.
The game starts at 7pm and you can also see it on NBATV.
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Sunday, Mar 31, 2013, 7:00 PM EDT