Skip to content

Heat barely beat undermanned Spurs, but controversy will linger beyond this game

Nov 29, 2012, 11:23 PM EDT

Gregg Popovich AP

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.

Latest Posts
  1. LaMarcus Aldridge ruining Dwight Howard’s chance at redemption

    Apr 24, 2014, 1:40 AM EDT

    Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge

    Trail Blazers take 2-0 series lead with second win in Houston

  2. Spurs give the ball away first, then Game 2 to Dallas

    Apr 23, 2014, 11:54 PM EDT

    Tony Parker Tony Parker

    The Spurs turned the ball over on 26.2 percent of their possessions. It’s very unSpurs like.

  3. Clipper broadcaster accidentally casts MVP ballot for Most Improved Player

    Apr 23, 2014, 9:23 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Clippers v Memphis Grizzlies Getty Images

    He has Durant, LeBron and Griffin on his MIP list… but it makes a good MVP ballot.

  4. Allen Iverson documentary trailer debuts (VIDEO)

    Apr 23, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

    Allen Iverson Allen Iverson

    The documentary will be screened at the Tribeca Film Festival this weekend.

  5. Report: Hawks assistant Quin Snyder in mix for Jazz job, too

    Apr 23, 2014, 6:41 PM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Miami Heat Atlanta Hawks v Miami Heat

    Utah needs a coach good at player development, Synder could be a fit.

  6. PBT Extra: How ’bout them Wizards?

    Apr 23, 2014, 5:49 PM EDT

    Washington Wizards v Boston Celtics Getty Images

    CSNWashington.com’s Wizards insider talks about the best story line in the playoffs so far.

  7. Rockets coach Kevin McHale explains the difference between good and bad players

    Apr 23, 2014, 3:22 PM EDT

    Kevin McHale AP

    McHale jokes with a reporter by making a painfully obvious observation.

  8. Ron Harper expects to interview for Knicks’ coaching vacancy

    Apr 23, 2014, 2:41 PM EDT

    Ron Harper Ron Harper

    Harper worked as Pistons assistant for two years

  9. Flip Saunders on coaching the Timberwolves himself: ‘You never know’

    Apr 23, 2014, 1:22 PM EDT

    Flip Saunders Flip Saunders

    Timberwolves president coached Minnesota, Detroit and Washington before taking current job

  10. Report: Frank Vogel “coaching for his job” in wake of team’s slide

    Apr 23, 2014, 12:39 PM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Indiana Pacers - Game Two Getty Images

    It would be a mistake, but the Pacers’ slide has everyone on edge in Indy.

  11. Phoenix’s Goran Dragic runs away with Most Improved Player

    Apr 23, 2014, 12:05 PM EDT

    Goran Dragic, Anthony Davis Goran Dragic, Anthony Davis

    Lance Stephenson was second, Anthony Davis third, but they were well back of Dragic.

  12. Baylor’s Isaiah Austin declares for NBA draft

    Apr 23, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT

    Traevon Jackson, Isaiah Austin Traevon Jackson, Isaiah Austin

    7-foot-1, athletic with 3-point range — what’s not to like? A decent amount

  13. Frank Vogel not afraid to make adjustments, but the one he didn’t make might make the difference

    Apr 23, 2014, 11:05 AM EDT

    vogelhibbert

    Frank Vogel resisted the urge to do anything dramatic and trusted his team to make little changes. It worked.

Featured video

Wizards playing spoiler in East
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. A. Jefferson (3133)
  2. K. Durant (2721)
  3. D. Wade (2585)
  4. L. James (2574)
  5. J. Noah (2527)
  1. D. Rose (2524)
  2. K. Bryant (2313)
  3. D. Howard (2158)
  4. A. Bogut (2093)
  5. N. Hilario (2093)