With 13.9 seconds left in a close game, DeMar DeRozan blocked a pull-up jumper from Josh Richardson. The Miami Heat held a three-point lead on the San Antonio Spurs, and DeRozan pushed the ball up-court for a chance for the Spurs to tie.
But DeRozan never got that chance. A wily veteran named Dwyane Wade poked the ball away from DeRozan, and Miami gained control of the ball. The Heat held on to win 110-105, snapping San Antonio’s nine-game winning streak coming into Wednesday’s game and improving to 35-36 on the season.
Miami also retained their 1.5-game lead over the Orlando Magic for the eighth playoff seed and sealed a second huge road win over a playoff Western Conference team (the Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder Monday night).
The Heat played one of their best games this season. Miami led virtually the entire game — building up an 18-point third-quarter lead — and made 16 3-pointers, 11 of which came in the first half. Although the Spurs found some holes in the Heat’s zone defense as they rallied back from that deficit, Miami also played long stretches of tough defense.
THAT'S HOW YOU PROTECT A 4TH QUARTER LEAD! pic.twitter.com/wECoEWsC0D— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 21, 2019
Great defense by Bam on Aldridge pic.twitter.com/X8LqyVCGnZ— Joseph Beguiristain (@JoeBeguiristain) March 21, 2019
Goran Dragic led the way for Miami with 22 points, all but two of which the point guard made in the first half. Dragic connected on four 3-pointers and went 8-of-13 from the field overall. And Dragic’s two second-half points came on a crafty move around LaMarcus Aldridge for a layup with 3:12 left in the fourth quarter — a key score. With Justise Winslow out again Wednesday, Dragic’s offensive production lifted the Heat.
Like Dragic, Dion Waiters also hit four (huge) 3-pointers on the night. The Philadelphia native finished with 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting to go with five rebounds and four assists. It wasn’t just the 3-point shooting, though — Waiters made his way into the lane for nice layups.
We'll take a philly cheese, to go. Extra please. pic.twitter.com/fpyWNLzMJS— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 21, 2019
In keeping with the theme of players from the Heat’s 30-11 run in the 2016-17 season, James Johnson looked like the player who earned a four-year contract. Johnson contributed 13 points off the bench, providing energy and activity on both ends of the floor. He hit three 3s, added his playmaking ability with four assists and even goaded Rudy Gay into a fourth-quarter technical foul with some rock-solid post defense. (Wade also committed a technical foul in the fourth, with just over two minutes left in the game, though. Both teams converted on the technical free throw.)
His technical foul notwithstanding, Wade had some nice moments in his final game against the Spurs. The three-time NBA champion hit a half-court 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer to put the Heat up 12, shifting the momentum after the Spurs made a run. Wade also hit a wild left-handed bank shot with 1:23 left to put the Heat up 108-103. In tough road games, it helps to have a player who can make improbable shots at the end of the shot clock. Nearing the end of his NBA career, Wade can still do that.
D. Wad3 at the buzzer pic.twitter.com/mMW6Sp2G0f— Joseph Beguiristain (@JoeBeguiristain) March 21, 2019
The Heat will fly to Milwaukee to play the Bucks on Friday night at 8:30.