Notebook: Heat 88, Spurs 86

Posted Mar 31, 2013 10:39 PM

Tim Price, for

THE FACTS: It appears the Miami Heat can play the game of sit-the-stars a little better than the San Antonio Spurs. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers did not play Sunday at AT&T Center, so that left Chris Bosh to hit a 3-pointer past the top of the key with 1.1 seconds left to give the Heat an 88-86 victory over the Spurs.

It looked a little like the first time the teams met this season when the Spurs did not send Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili to Miami, opting to rest their stars instead. That drew a $250,000 fine from the NBA office.

But Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said James (right hamstring strain), Wade (right ankle sprain) and Chalmers (right ankle sprain) had injuries that affected their play during Friday's 108-89 victory at New Orleans (Chalmers was inactive against the Hornets).

So Bosh stepped up. He scored 23 points and hit 3-for-5 from the 3-point line, and when Ray Allen was double covered with a shaky 3-point look on the other side of the floor, Allen snapped the pass to the trailing Bosh for the 25-footer over Duncan.

The Spurs got 17 points and 12 rebounds from Duncan, but his miss of a turnaround from inside 10 feet opened the door for Miami to take the ball down the court without calling timeout to set up the play for Bosh.

Parker added 12 points, but he badly missed a jumper from about 10 feet that could have won the game at the buzzer. Ginobili did not play because of a hamstring strain from Friday's victory over the Clippers.

QUOTABLE: "We are the defending champions no matter who we put out there. We are still the Miami Heat. As soon as I saw (the Spurs) put two (defenders on Allen) on the ball, I knew my opportunity was there."
-- Bosh, referencing the final shot to win the game.

THE STAT: Without James or Wade driving inside, the Spurs outscored Miami 46-18 in the paint. But San Antonio failed to take advantage when Miami converted 17 turnovers into 20 points; San Antonio scored nine points off turnovers.

TURNING POINT: Shane Battier had been turned twice in the second half with baseline drives that ended in dunks by Kawhi Leonard, who scored 17 points and had 11 rebounds. Trailing by a point with 2 ½ minutes to go, the Heat saw San Antonio going in for another layup when Danny Green broke loose. But Battier came over on help defense and blocked the shot. When it looked like the Spurs would get the loose ball, Battier reached up and got a hand on it while still down on the floor to force a turnover. The Heat did not convert that time, but it showed they had plenty of fight left in a close game.

QUOTABLE II: "(Bosh) is a heck of a player, No. 1. He's also a hell of a shooter. Give him credit. (Duncan) contested (the last shot), and Bosh knocked it down."
-- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

HOT: Battier hit a 3-pointer late in the third that helped the Heat erase a seven-point Spurs advantage to start the quarter into a seven-point Miami lead at the end of it. He finished the game shooting 2-for-4 from the 3-point line and is 7-for-13 from that distance in the last three games.

NOT: The Heat did not have its prolific backcourt, but the Spurs starting guards didn't outshine anyone tonight. Parker and Green shot 8-for-20 from the floor and Parker missed all three of his 3-point tries.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Bosh nearly had his double-double, grabbing nine rebounds to go along with his 23 points. It's the second time in three games he's cracked the 20-point mark.

INSIDE THE ARENA: World No. 2 golfer Rory McIlroy finished up his final round at the Shell Houston Open and made the 200-mile trip to San Antonio for a front-row baseline seat next to former Spurs player Bruce Bowen. McIlroy is in town for this week's Valero Texas Open stop on the PGA Tour. ... Former major-league catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez also had a good seat at the game.

GOOD MOVE: Spoelstra resisted the urge to start Allen and Battier in place of James and Wade. Keeping those players in their regular rotation gave the Heat good rhythm when the game was on the line. Allen and Battier combined to shoot 5-for-7 from the floor in the second half.

BAD MOVE: The Spurs tried whatever they could to make up for the lack of having another playmaker on the floor with the loss of Ginobili. They went to their proven veterans Parker and Duncan, yet shot 0-for-3 in the final 37 seconds.

ROOKIE WATCH: Nando De Colo started the first time these teams met (15 points, five assists in 33 ½ minutes), but tonight in a backup role he scored three points and had two assists in 11 minutes).

NOTABLE: It's the first game James has missed this season. Chalmers missed for just the second time this season and Wade has missed seven. ... With Ginobili out, Stephen Jackson filled in from the bench for San Antonio with 11 points off 5-for-8 shooting in 14 ½ minutes. ... Udonis Haslem started, but he was a game-time decision because of a nagging foot problem. He did not play in the fourth quarter until the final minute, and he defended Duncan on his final shot that missed and opened the door for the Bosh 3-pointer.

UP NEXT: For the Heat, Tuesday vs. New York, Friday @ Charlotte, Saturday vs. Philadelphia. For the Spurs, Monday @ Memphis, Wednesday vs. Orlando, Thursday @ Oklahoma City.