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Heat easily beat Spurs in Finals rematch

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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MIAMI — The teams, the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, were the same ones that played in last year’s NBA Finals.

But this was not that matchup.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra made note of that with his first postgame comments.

“No, it did not feel like the NBA Finals,” he said.

Despite that, there were numerous positives for Miami, which got guard Dwyane Wade back from the injured list, was able to rest forward LeBron James in the fourth quarter and still had enough to easily defeat the Spurs 113-101 on Sunday at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Heat forward Chris Bosh (24 points) starred as Miami improved its home record to 19-3.

Bosh made 9 of 10 shots from the floor, including his 32nd 3-pointer of the season, which is already a career high. He also made 5 of 5 from the foul line in 28 minutes.

James added 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists in 26 minutes.

The rest he got Sunday was no doubt important in the mind of Spoelstra, but James had a different take on the subject.

“I’ve had a huge responsibility on me for a long time,” James said. “I have gone seven or eight years having a huge load. It doesn’t change for me. I’m happy to be that leader and carry that load, no matter how big it is.”

Wade, who had missed four straight games due to knee soreness, came in off the bench for the first time since 2008 and had eight points for Miami (32-12), which extended its modest win streak to three games.

Spoelstra said Wade, who played 24 minutes, came to him with the idea of coming in off the bench as he tried to regain his flow after the time off. The coach would not commit to starting Wade in the Heat’s next game, which is at home Wednesday against Oklahoma City.

“I understand that everybody is going to use this as a ‘lightning rod’ subject to talk about for the next three days,” Spoelstra said of Wade. “I’m just glad he was able to play. We will take everything day to day, but as he gets back into the mix, I’d like to get him more minutes.”

As a team, the Heat shot 58 percent from the floor and were never seriously challenged.

“It’s a bad combination if we are not disciplined defensively, and they are making shots,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

San Antonio (33-11) was led by center Tim Duncan, who had 23 points. Forward Boris Diaw added 15 points.

Popovich said he was pleased with the job Diaw did defensively on James.

“Boris doesn’t look the part, but he plays the part,” Popovich said. “Boris has done a good job defensively on a variety of guys. He takes pride in it, and we’re going to continue to use him.”

Before the game, James said the Spurs’ arrival in Miami brought back memories from the Heat’s win over San Antonio in last year’s NBA Finals.

“It was one of the greatest Finals the NBA has ever seen,” James said. “I was ecstatic, excited, humbled and blessed to be a part of it.”

The Heat on Sunday, playing with all 15 of its players healthy for the first time all season, came out firing, leading 8-0 two minutes into the game. The Heat shot 72 percent in the first quarter and took a 34-28 lead heading into the second.

Miami increased its lead to 58-50 at the half, overcoming 17 points by Duncan. The third quarter was more of the same as the Heat outscored San Antonio 33-21 to take a 91-71 lead.

Bosh was perfect in the third quarter, scoring 12 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the floor and 5 of 5 on the foul line.

Spurs point guard Tony Parker, who jammed one of his fingers early in the game, was held to 11 points and seven assists.

“(The finger) bothered me a little bit on my shot,” said Parker, who made 4 of 9 from the floor. “It happens.”

NOTES: G Toney Douglas and F James Jones were the Heat’s healthy scratches. … The wife of Heat G Ray Allen had a mural painted of his memorable shot that helped beat the Spurs in Game 6 of last year’s NBA Finals. It hangs above their fireplace, and Allen has called the shot the greatest of his career. … Injuries have forced the Spurs to use 15 different starting lineups in 44 games. On Sunday, the Spurs were without three starters: C Tiago Splitter (shoulder), F Kawhi Leonard (broken right hand) and G Danny Green (broken left hand). … The Heat have used 12 different starting lineups. Their preferred lineup — Gs Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers, Fs LeBron James and Shane Battier and C Chris Bosh — has been together for just 17 games. … The Spurs visit the Houston Rockets on Tuesday.

Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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