The Heat certainly wanted to put behind Thursday’s meltdown against the Magic behind them. A trip to San Antonio and a test against the NBA’s top team would seem to the do the trick. What’s the old adage? “If you can’t get up for this game …”
Forget about it. The Heat went into San Antonio and got blown out of the gym. The Spurs welcomed Tony Parker back to the lineup much faster than the original diagnosis of his calf injury. After one quarter of play, San Antonio had already built a 24-point advantage. Miami cut the advantage to 12 at halftime, but it was more of the same out of the break.
The Spurs hit 17-of-28 three-point attempts, including six from 6-foot-10 forward/center Matt Bonner. By game’s end, eight Spurs were in double figures, led by 20 from Manu Ginobili. Parker added 15 points and eight assists in his return to the court (+31).
As for the Heat, LeBron James posted a fantastic fantasy night (26 points on 11-of-19 shooting, 8 rebounds and 7 assists), as did Chris Bosh, who nabbed 14 rebounds to go along with 17 points. When things got tight(er), the Spurs found an answer and immediately stretched the lead. The Heat were unable to respond.
I wrote about the Heat’s loss on Thursday as a potential problem psychologically with a long, difficult streak of games against playoff-ready opponents ahead. Forget about the fact that they took another “L” against San Antonio. That was expected on the road. They got housed.
Meanwhile, the Bulls came into Orlando and pulled off a road win to take the second spot in the East.
LeBron might be spending a lot of time with the Knicks after all … as the Heat would take on New York in the first round if the playoffs started today. David Stern just struck his Montgomery Burns “Excellent” pose.