It was already going to be a mighty challenge to be the first team to walk away from the AT&T Center in San Antonio after 36 games. To do it on the second night of a back-to-back set wasn't going to exactly help either.
Coupled with the injury absence of Luol Deng and uncharacteristically subpar games from starters Goran Dragic and Joe Johnson, the Heat were outplayed on all facets in a 112-88 blowout loss Wednesday against a San Antonio Spurs team humming on all cylinders.
Miami's streak of 11 games scoring over 100 points was broken and the 88 points was a far cry from their 113.4 point average for the month of March. Missing was the free-flowing offense guided by Dragic, who finished with more turnovers (6) than assists (4), and there wasn't enough defensive stops to trigger any fast break opportunities along with chances of easy buckets for Dragic and Wade.
Johnson only scored eight points in Miami's previous game against the Charlotte Hornets and he finished with five points this time around. Josh McRoberts started in place of the injured Deng, but was unable to make his mark with his stylish playmaking skills against the unforgiving Spurs defense. Josh Richardson bounced back from a quiet game in New Orleans to finish with 17 points (7-13 FGs) in 34 minutes, although he did most of his damage when the game was well out of reach.
Though it was a frustrating night for him, Hassan Whiteside did tally 12 points and 14 rebounds, recording his 34th double-double this season, and 15 in his last 17 games -- all off the bench. Of the starters, only Dwyane Wade finished in double-figures with 16 points (8-13 FGs) along with five rebounds and three assists.
The Spurs were led by Kawhi Leonard, who tied his career high with 32 points in two and a half quarters before leaving to the locker room for good with a quad injury. It appeared as if he got banged up on two separate drives to the rim.
Nevertheless, San Antonio was simply relentless with their depth, and the loss of Leonard didn't affect the Spurs in the slightest with just about every bench player all adding something to the mix. One by one, reserve players such as Boris Diaw, Kevin Martin and the 7-foot-3-inch Boban Marjanovic -- who ended up with 19 points in just 14 minutes while having his way with Hassan Whiteside in the fourth quarter -- did their damage and had their way with the Heat.
Though the first half was competitive with a few nice stretches of play from the Heat, it was in the third quarter where it all unraveled and it ended with San Antonio up by 88-63 after outscoring Miami 32-13. The loss makes it 25 losses for Miami out of their 28 regular season appearances in San Antonio.
The loss drops the Heat from third to fifth in the East with the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks notching victories tonight. Miami is now a half game behind Boston and Atlanta in the standings and they have the same 41-30 record as Charlotte