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What malaise? Chris Bosh, Miami look sharp in blowout win over Spurs

Jan 26, 2014, 3:29 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers vs Miami Heat Getty Images

Miami just needed a challenge, apparently.

The Heat had coasted through the last few weeks, still winning some games but not looking sharp, looking like a team that was bored with the season. Like a team a little tired and just waiting for the playoffs.

Then the Spurs came to town and Miami woke up — Chris Bosh in particular was sharp.

Bosh had 24 points on 9-of-10 shooting as the Heat blew the game open in the third quarter and both teams rested their stars in the fourth quarter of a 113-101 Miami win that wasn’t as close as the score suggests.

If Miami wants to beat the Pacers in the playoffs, they need this Chris Bosh. He hit 4-of-4 shots inside eight feet but was also 4-of-4 from the midrange, his only miss coming on one of his two threes. When Bosh is hitting those shots to space the court it opens up lanes, both passing and driving.

Miami took advantage of that with crisp ball movement, something the shorthanded Spurs could not keep up with. Then Miami hit their shots, shooting 60 percent through the first three quarters and hitting 6-of-13 from three, opening up a 91-71 lead. The fourth quarter was pretty much all garbage time.

LeBron James had 18 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Mario Chalmers was 5-of-7 from the floor through three quarters, Ray Allen hit a couple threes and the Heat offense was just clicking. That let them get back and set their defense.

Dwyane Wade came off the bench in his first game back after missing four and still did not seem to move well and was rusty, shooting 2-of-6 on the night.

Miami scored 58 points on 59 percent shooting in the first half and had an 8-point lead at the break, but they came out with more defensive intensity in the second half. Miami went on on 15-3 run midway through the third quarter, their defense forcing the Spurs into more midrange shots, which were contested and did not fall. Heat moved the ball well in the quarter, knocked down their looks, plus hit ridiculous shots like LeBron from behind the backboard.

On the other side, San tAntonio is now 1-10 against the league’s best teams (Indiana, Oklahoma City, Portland, the Clippers, Houston and now Miami) and 32-1 against the rest of the league. Yes, that’s an issue.

Tim Duncan had 23 points on 13 shots, Boris Diaw had a nice game with 15 points, but it was the defensive end of the floor that was the issue for the Spurs. They miss Tiago Splitter, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, but this team’s issues are a little bigger than that right now. It’s fair to question if they can repeat last season’s playoff success.

  1. basketballhooper1 - Jan 26, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    113:101, I wouldn’t really call it a “blowout”

    • davidly - Jan 26, 2014 at 3:50 PM

      If you just look at the final score, that’s true, but Miami was up by 26 with less than 6 minutes left in the game. The rest was just running the clock down. The second half was not even remotely competitive.

    • miamatt - Jan 26, 2014 at 4:03 PM

      Garbage time comeback defined.

      4th quarter lead peaked at 27 , I believe. Pretty sure 12 was as close as it ever got at that, and that didn’t happen until really late.

    • apkyletexas - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:04 PM

      I’m a huge Spurs homer, and even I don’t consider this version of the Spurs to be a real threat in the West, with all its injuries and continued offensive reliance on guys whose best offensive days are far behind them (I’m looking at you Manu and Duncan).

      The way Popovich has coached the Spurs this year, they will have no chance in the playoffs – might not even make it out of the first round. His one chance was to develop Green and Leonard and Mills and Splitter to take most of the minutes and shots, but he continues to give the majority of the shots to the old-timers. He’s done nothing to develop Nando de Colo, who was supposed to be a huge addition to the roster. Kawhi Leonard has made no progress with his game this year and is getting no more shots – this year was a huge year for his development. Danny Green has disappeared from the Spurs’ plans after showing so much promise in the playoffs last season.

      Belinelli, Diaw and Mills are three of the best players on the roster, but none of them gets starter minutes. Belinelli took less money to come to San Antonio and get developed by the best coach in the business, but he’s not getting consistent shooting opportunities and his development is lagging. There are quite a number of games where Belinelli, Mills, or de Colo are healthy but get no shots. The only guy on the roster who gets enough touches and shots per night is Parker, and he probably needs a reduction in workload in order to rest up for the playoffs.

      I would much rather see this team end up a 6th or 7th seed with a fully developed roster than to see the older vets push them to a higher seed but an early playoff exit.

      It feels like Popovich is just padding his HOF win totals and his Big 3′s HOF career stats, while ignoring the development of a bunch of exciting young players who clearly proved last season that they were ready for the big stage. As a huge Spurs homer, I really couldn’t be more disappointed. I wish he would get over his Finals hangover and realize that this group of young players was 30-seconds from Finals glory last year, and could do even better in the future.

    • spursareold - Jan 27, 2014 at 11:18 AM

      Spurs minus their best two perimeter defenders, and their best interior defender.

  2. dolphindubs - Jan 26, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    @basketballhooper1

    Did you watch the game? It was a 25 point lead until the last few minutes of the game when the backups brought it back to respectability. It WAS a blowout

    • kingtotz - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:53 AM

      typical miami heat fans, they think they know everything but nobody knows …

      were you guys watching?
      the other said 26, one said 27, and you said 25.
      so which was it? LOL

      • gofinsgoheatfloria - Jan 27, 2014 at 6:58 AM

        As a typical miami heat envier, which of those three numbers would give you comfort?

  3. antistratfordian - Jan 26, 2014 at 5:02 PM

    This is where the point differential stat you see in the standings can be deceiving because a 12 point win isn’t going to move the needle much on Miami’s +5.7 or San Antonio’s +7.8. But this wasn’t a mere 12 point win – it was a total drubbing.

    Some handicappers are going to use the basic point differential to rank teams, but they aren’t going to consider this at all.

    So maybe I should invent something like a “True Point Differential” statistic? Basically it would be the difference at the time when the losing team pulls its starters for the last time – essentially forfeiting the game at that point (I think in this game it was probably at 6:46 when the lead was 25 and Pop pulled his last starter). The scrimmage that occurred after 6:46 shouldn’t influence anything that we may want to use to evaluate teams.

    • adamsjohn714 - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:48 AM

      The point differential stat is actually pretty darn indicative of team strength. To sully it with judgments based on opinion wouldn’t keep it a stat, it would denigrate it.

      • gofinsgoheatfloria - Jan 27, 2014 at 7:06 AM

        The PP made a specific suggestion aimed at improving the usefulness of the statistic that does not involve opinion. Agree or disagree with the suggestion, fine, but there ls nothing wrong with the try.

      • antistratfordian - Jan 27, 2014 at 3:38 PM

        I agree, though it is obviously not accurate enough. Or, we can keep an additional stat next to the traditional stat – we don’t have to replace it.

        But, you know, if the Average Point Differential stat had a version number it would still be on 1.0. It could use an update.

    • belleby123 - Jan 27, 2014 at 8:53 AM

      antistratfordian – Jan 26, 2014 at 5:02 PM
      This is where the point differential stat you see in the standings can be deceiving because a 12 point win isn’t going to move the needle much on Miami’s +5.7 or San Antonio’s +7.8. But this wasn’t a mere 12 point win – it was a total drubbing.

      Sorry, but this is why the Heat fans are laughable. When the Heat play mediocre, it’s “nothing matters until the playoffs.” When they play well, it’s “Did you see that? We kicked their asses!” Why don’t you rocket scientists put your thinking caps on and come up with the concept that you can’t have it both ways. I could swear you guys don’t want to be disrespected, but if you act stupid you’re going to be disrespected.

      • antistratfordian - Jan 28, 2014 at 12:56 AM

        I don’t even know what you’re talking about right now… did you have a point?

      • belleby123 - Jan 28, 2014 at 5:42 PM

        This is why the Heat fans are laughable is a pretty clear and valid point. I’m sure it hurts being nailed to a cross like this–you’ll get over it.

      • antistratfordian - Jan 28, 2014 at 8:51 PM

        So… no. Okay. Until next time!

      • belleby123 - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:06 AM

        Wow, you have proven yourself to be the biggest weasel on PBT–kudos!

      • antistratfordian - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:21 PM

        Still nothing? Typical.

      • belleby123 - Jan 31, 2014 at 9:17 AM

        I think I’ve said what I need to say. You see these false declarations of victory on the internet all the time. Why don’t you eat some Wheaties or something and try to take the high road for once in your life? I dare you.

      • antistratfordian - Jan 31, 2014 at 3:10 PM

        It’s not about victory or defeat. We weren’t in a competition. I really don’t even know what you’re talking about any longer, to be honest… but keep babbling if that blows your hair back.

      • belleby123 - Jan 31, 2014 at 3:40 PM

        Ditto.

  4. 1972wasalongtimeago - Jan 26, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    Grantland running a “What’s Wrong with the Spurs” article tomorrow? No?

    Grantland running a “What’s wrong with the Pacers” article tomorrow? No?

    • casualcommenter - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:27 PM

      Zach Lowe of Grantland knows more about basketball than you ever will.

      If you bothered to read the full article, you would know that Lowe basically concludes that the Heat’s statistical slippage is mostly due to poor effort/injuries, and the Heat are still a legit contender.

      However, it seems pretty clear that you either didn’t make it past the title or failed to understand anything he wrote after the title, so feel free to continue to whine that Lowe dared to question the Heat.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Jan 27, 2014 at 7:48 AM

        Of course I read the article. My point wasn’t about the article (the article said nothing by the way. The article boiled down to two possibilities: maybe there’s a problem, maybe there isn’t. And it didn’t answer yes or no).

        My point is about Grantland. Go on Grantland, put Miami Heat in the search box, see the articles that come up and how they’re all anti-Miami in some way.

    • dexterismyhero - Jan 27, 2014 at 9:40 AM

      Maybe Grantland peruses PBT and is tired of your asinine comments.

  5. timb12 - Jan 26, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    Leonard is still out too right? The Heat dominated this game, but I would say this game says more about the Heat than it does the Spurs.

    • casualcommenter - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:30 PM

      Yep. The Heat were at full strength with even Greg Oden getting minutes (though Wade came off the bench), while the Spurs were missing 3 out of 5 starters (Leonard, Green, and Splitter).

  6. sdelmonte - Jan 26, 2014 at 6:42 PM

    As is ever the case, the Heat can turn it on when they need to, or when they want to. The problem is whether they can do that enough times on the road if Indiana gets home court advantage.

    That said, since it’s almost impossible to imagine any sort of earlier challenge to the Heat in the playoffs, they might have a lot of time in the first two rounds to perfect the art of Turning It On while Wade gets healthy.

  7. cruzan80 - Jan 27, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    No Leonard, Green or Splitter & someone please remind me of the last time Pop ever gave a crap about a game in January? Heat dominated this game as they should….this game said absolutely nothing about either team as far as I’m concerned.

  8. daddyb1gdrawz - Jan 27, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    Its all good. As a Miami fan I am just going to enjoy the last year this team is together and bid Lebron a fairwell and thank him for the memories. He is stupid enough to go back to Cleveland after what that owner did and said about him.

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