Nov 29, 2012, 11:23 PM EDT
The Heat did what they’ve been doing all season long on Thursday, which was play down to the level of their competition for the majority of the night, before ending up with a win after all is said and done.
Yes, Miami took care of the Spurs 105-100, but it wasn’t the same Spurs team that got out to a 13-3 record to start the season. That team featured Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili all playing a heavy role in the outcome of San Antonio’s first 16 games of the year, but they weren’t even in the arena for this one, after being sent home by head coach Gregg Popovich to rest well before things even got started.
But between the Heat coasting and the Spurs reserves playing hard and with purpose, San Antonio was in the game all night long, and even held a seven-point lead with under five minutes to play after what seemed like a back-breaking three from Nando De Colo that was launched from a few feet beyond the top of the three-point arc.
Down the stretch, Miami’s offense ran through LeBron James, and the Heat were able to take the lead they would never relinquish thanks to a Ray Alen three-pointer — one that was assisted, of course, by James.
San Antonio got big performances from Gary Neal and Tiago Splitter, and had five players in double figures which kept the Heat guessing defensively. Despite the fact that the usual starters weren’t there, the Spurs that did play did so with a familiarity and team cohesion that is truly a credit to Popovich and his coaching style.
As for the Heat, this effort was par for the course. They similarly struggled with a far less talented Cleveland Cavaliers squad at home less than a week ago, only to rally in the game’s final two minutes to come away with the win. And, they needed overtime to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks at home just a few days before that.
With that being said, and despite the game’s competitive nature and the fact that it wasn’t decided until the final few possessions, Popovich’s decision was wrong, and David Stern said as much in a statement released shortly before tip-off.
That will be the lingering memory from this game — not the gutty effort of the Spurs reserves, and not the fact that the defending champs coasted to another home victory over a team less talented.
Popovich resting his star players will be the catalyst of conversation for days to come, and as Stern warned in his statement, so will whatever punishment he has in mind for the Spurs organization breaking a rule that, up until this point, has never formally existed.
Jul 12, 2014, 11:13 AM EDT
This played out as expected.
Jul 12, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
The NBA has simplified signing first-round picks. This case fell through the cracks.
Jul 12, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT
Like with fans, there was some surprise and a lot of nods from NBA players on twitter.
Jul 12, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
LeBron returns to Cleveland a fully realized player.
Jul 12, 2014, 1:11 AM EDT
Two teams near the top of their conference could get a lot better if they land him.
Jul 12, 2014, 12:10 AM EDT
Carter will likely replace Mike Miller, who might be Cleveland-bound to play with LeBron James
Jul 11, 2014, 11:28 PM EDT
Bucks-Cavaliers was by far the main event of the first day of Summer League action in Las Vegas.
Jul 11, 2014, 10:52 PM EDT
Bazemore join’s Atlanta’s crowded wing rotation
Jul 11, 2014, 10:33 PM EDT
If you’re betting on the Cavaliers to win the title next season
Jul 11, 2014, 9:39 PM EDT
“To say that I’m excited and happy would probably qualify as one of the great understatements of the millennium,” Blatt said.
Jul 11, 2014, 8:42 PM EDT
Odom had fully unguaranteed contract
Jul 11, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT
“It is almost enough to make a Clevelander cry.”
Knicks coach Derek Fisher reflects on LeBron’s decision, while still waiting for Carmelo Anthony to make his
Jul 11, 2014, 7:45 PM EDT
Fisher talks LeBron, Carmelo after a successful Summer League debut coaching the Knicks.
Jul 11, 2014, 7:08 PM EDT
He handles it with class. What else did you expect?
Jul 11, 2014, 6:51 PM EDT
Dragic, Bledsoe and Thomas? The Suns will be fun to watch this season.
Jul 11, 2014, 6:45 PM EDT
That’s a lot of money.
Jul 11, 2014, 6:13 PM EDT
Writing was on the wall on the Lakers traded for Jeremy Lin
Jul 11, 2014, 5:55 PM EDT
Miami will try to re-sign Dwyane Wade next. What will Houston do?
Jul 11, 2014, 5:27 PM EDT
Bosh would give up more than $35 million to leave Miami for Houston, but maybe LeBron James’ departure convinces him to do so
Jul 11, 2014, 5:21 PM EDT
Wade is from Chicago, so there may be a desire to return home — the same way it was with LeBron and the Cavaliers.
- LeBron returns to Cleveland a more efficient, mature player that can take team further 15
- Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker shine in head-to-head Summer League matchup 14
- Posnanski: LeBron James proves he’s a true Clevelander 52
- Report: Isaiah Thomas headed to Phoenix Suns in a sign-and-trade 38
- Report: Chris Bosh re-signing with Heat over joining Rockets 86
- Report: Heat offer Chris Bosh full max contract to keep him from Rockets 26
- PBT Extra: LeBron James returns to Cleveland to try and cement legacy 18
- Deal set: Lakers trade for Jeremy Lin, which for L.A. is largely about draft pick (as is Gasol for Boozer idea) 38