The Heat started off slow, which I hope doesn't become a recurring theme this season.
Miami's motion offense looked solid, as they immediately found Dwyane Wade for an open three which he missed. On the defensive end, Miami's rotation seemed iffy as LaMarcus Aldridge scored multiple times from the midrange. The next few times upcourt the Heat abandoned their motion offense in favor of poor shots, and many perimeter airballs.
However, the Heat did look really good in transition scoring twice early on fastbreaks. Miami's second unit appeared immediately relentless on the defensive end, though slightly out of control. Their tempo will be hard to match, and will surprise teams. Tyler Johnson is a bright spot, he looked comfortable running the offense and scored on a great slam.
Gerald Green is also incredibly fun to watch, looking like the Road Runner as he blew past defenders. Miami ended the quarter on a strong note as Justise Winslow found Greg Whittington in transition for a dunk.
Tyler Johnson continued his great play in the second quarter connecting on his second three of the game, and following it up with another dunk off a great pass from Birdman.
The Spurs' second unit made some mistakes on the offensive end allowing the Heat to tie the game up almost immediately. I can totally see this "energy" lineup of young guns becoming a problem for teams down the line. Whittington also battled down low with the absence of the Heat's regular big man and in doing so picked up a couple of fouls, but overall did a solid job.
Winslow also utilized the post game Wade has been teaching him, it will be interesting to see how he develops in that regard. Defensively Miami looked better, but still the Spurs scored numerous times taking back the lead and building on it consistently. As the first half came to a close and the Heat starters returned, Miami reverted to familiar means of scoring with Wade slashing.
Bosh also showed flashes of what we know he's capable of, but he still has some rust. The Heat continued to be dominated in the paint, obviously missing Hassan Whiteside's presence.
Miami brought it to the Spurs right off the bat in the second half with a put-back layup by Wade and beautiful driving layup by Bosh. The Spurs looked to return fire in transition and found their way to the free throw line multiple times.
Goran Dragic looks rusty missing "makeable" shots, but that should soon clear up. The Spurs' preference to run the ball (in transition) led to a 9-0 run before Luol Deng ended the run. Miami battled back scoring on multiple plays including a Birdman slam, however still struggled defensively with the Spurs increasing their lead to twelve with 3:30 remaining. Gerald Green would show some flashes both good and bad, as the quarter came to a close.
Going into the fourth quarter Miami's second unit picked up the pace getting Green to the line right away. Whittington also grabbed an impossible rebound to finish in the paint, followed up by a layup from Winslow. Green acted as a scoring force allowing the Heat to score 8 of the quarter's first 11 points. Johnson also got it going again scoring a three to add to his 9 point first half.
James Ennis, Keith Benson and Josh Richardson also saw some playtime, with Ennis finding his way to the free throw line immediately. Richardson's fearlessness was on full display as he confidently drove the baseline, and delivered on a strong drive following a steal adding to a 17-3 run to take the lead. Winslow had a beautiful drive in the paint, but Benson delivered on an amazing follow up slam. Miami would proceed to miss a barrage of of frantic three point attempts, before a pair of made Josh Richardson free throws. The unruly pace of last minute resulted in a great Benson put-back, a Spurs shot, more Richardson free throw makes and ultimately the win.