After a disappointing home loss to the lowly Detroit Pistons to open a short homestand, the Miami Heat bounced back with a win against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday. But just like it’s been throughout the season, it’s one step forward and two steps back with yet another puzzling loss — this time to the young and inconsistent San Antonio Spurs in a close and frustrating 115-111 loss on Saturday night to conclude the homestand at the FTX Arena.
Even with Jimmy Butler leading the team with 30 points while Kyle Lowry returned to the starting lineup after a game off for rest, the Heat allowed the Spurs to hang around for the duration of the night. To their credit San Antonio improved their record to 8-18 and 4-8 on the road by responding to everything Miami threw at them in each of the four quarters, giving them more and more belief as the game wore on that they could not just keep pace but also to walk away victorious.
Keldon Johnson scored a team-high 21 points and grabbed six rebounds while Romeo Langford added 19 points for the Spurs.
Miami got 23 points from Tyler Herro, Caleb Martin added 14 points but starters Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry chipped in a dozen points each — which clearly isn’t going to be enough against any NBA team these days. Speaking of not enough, Miami got little from their bench with Victor Oladipo scoring 11 before fouling out in 23 minutes while Duncan Robinson and Max Strus were non-factors offensively with a combined 0-4 from deep. Dewayne Dedmon was the only other Heat reserve to play, and he scored just two points and grabbed five rebounds.
In contrast San Antonio got 47 points from their bench tonight, including Doug McDermott who had his moments tonight off the bench — not just scoring but finding his teammates.
The Heat were ahead 29-25 in the first quarter but the Spurs would go on to outscore them in the second and fourth quarter while tying them in the third quarter. Miami’s starters played heavy minutes, which may have been a factor down the stretch as the Spurs kept answering each critical basket by Butler and the Heat.
Finally the Heat had one last chance down 113-111 with just under 15 seconds left in the game after getting the Spurs to commit an offensive foul (the sixth and final foul for Zach Collins) after having difficulty inbounding the ball which cost them two timeouts. Miami went for the win instead of looking for a tie and overtime, with Tyler Herro missing a 3-point attempt, Bam Adebayo grabbing a huge offensive rebound and Caleb Martin missing another 3-point shot to end the game.
The two teams meet again next Saturday at Mexico City to conclude their season series. Miami next faces the Indiana Pacers on the road on Monday night to start a four-game road trip.