With 7:23 left in the fourth quarter of the Miami Heat’s road game at the San Antonio Spurs, Erik Spoelstra called a timeout. The score was stuck at 85-79 Miami since the 9:24 mark, so the Heat had an opportunity to build the lead.
And they did.
On the Heat’s ensuing possession after the timeout, Jimmy Butler made a jumper to put Miami up 87-79.
Less than a minute later, he found Tyler Herro for a turnaround jumper. And with 5:48 left, Butler again found Herro — but this time for a 3-pointer. Suddenly, the Heat held a 13-point advantage.
Gregg Popovich called a timeout, but that didn’t stop Miami’s run. Herro made three more 3s to put the Heat up 103-85 with just more than two minutes left to go. The Heat won their third straight game to improve to 31-28 on the season, just their fifth regular-season victory in San Antonio ever.
Both Miami and San Antonio came into this game in the play-in tournament range, and it was close for the entire first half. The Spurs even took a seven-point lead early in the third quarter, but Bam Adebayo scored eight straight points for Miami to wrestle the lead back.
And the Heat turned to a suffocating full-court press into a 2-3 zone that flummoxed the Spurs into scoring just 34 points in the second half. The Spurs turned the ball over against the Heat’s pressure. San Antonio couldn’t connect from 3, and DeMar DeRozan struggled in the second half offensively.
Adebayo finished with 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 shooting from the foul line, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. And Adebayo only played 31 minutes Wednesday night. He came out for a rest midway through the fourth quarter, but didn’t need to come back in.
Wednesday also marked a nice bounce-back game from Herro, who had struggled coming into tonight’s game. The second-year guard went 5-of-6 from downtown and 8-of-13 overall from the field. Herro also grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists. If the Heat get this Herro for the rest of the season, Miami will be in good position to move beyond the seventh seed.
Butler was mostly a facilitator in the second half, but still finished with 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field and a perfect 6-for-6 from the line. Butler was 4-of-5 from mid-range tonight, a great sign. And he dished out 11 assists — a few of them game-changing 3s to Herro.
Although Butler, Adebayo and Herro all returned after missing Monday’s win over the Rockets, Andre Iguodala missed Wednesday’s game. That gave KZ Okpala a spot in the rotation. He still needs some work offensively — he shot just 1-for-6 after not doing much better Monday — but showed his versatility as a defender.
The Heat will visit the Atlanta Hawks, who hold the fifth seed, for a big game Friday night.