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article imageNBA: Spurs douse the Heat in blowout, 125-95

By Lynn Herrmann     Mar 5, 2011 in Sports
San Antonio - The San Antonio Spurs hosted the Miami Heat on Friday night, entertaining them with a special 3-point party that set a franchise record and changed the face of the Eastern Conference, and enjoyed a cakewalk over their visitors, 125-95.
After blowing a 24-point third quarter lead against the Orlando Magic on Thursday night, the Miami Heat traveled to San Antonio for the second half of a back-to-back and rode out of town with a gross underestimation on the importance of mental preparation.
The game was all Spurs as Miami could only watch, for the second night in a row, as 3-pointers rained down on them. San Antonio set a franchise record by connecting on 17 baskets from 3-point land, including 8-of-11 in the first quarter.
In a surprise announcement an hour before the game, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said star point guard Tony Parker had been cleared to play against the Heat.
Spurs Radio said Parker had “two very good workouts” while the Spurs were out of town on their recent 1-1 road trip.
Parker had been expected to miss two to four weeks with a strained calf muscle suffered against Memphis last Sunday, but after workouts and evaluations, was announced ready for the Heat just before game time. The move may or may not have had an impact on the Heat, depending on who was asked. It definitely had an impact on the game, as Parker directed traffic and showed no signs of an injury, scoring 15 points and dishing eight assists.
“That’s what he’s been doing all season for us,” said Tim Duncan. “Running that point-guard position, making the right plays,” he added, MySA reports.
Still, the Spurs won going away in a game that had shaped up to be a classic battle of championship contenders from each conference. Mental edge, Spurs, by a wide margin.
For the Heat, four plays in the first quarter probably had South Beach asking why, as Dwayne Wade and LeBron James were nailed with a combined four consecutive offensive fouls. The first came when James bowled over Duncan. On the Heat’s next possession, Dwayne Wade was called for an offensive foul. The following possession James charged into Gary Neal, and on the next Heat possession Wade was called for his second offensive foul.
The four offensive fouls contributed to the Heat’s first five turnovers in the opening quarter and by game’s end would be indicative of their night’s performance.
Although the Heat clearly brought a package of bullying tactics to the Alamo City, the Spurs weren’t buying. In what might be their finest game of the season, the Spurs played intense basketball, and started the game in attack mode, with Manu Ginobili opening the scoring on a driving layup in the first seven seconds of the game. On their next possession, Ginobili buried a 3-pointer. The Spurs, up 5-0, never let up after that.
As a team, the Heat came in losers of three out of four of their last games, including important losses against the Knicks and Magic. The announcement by Popovich did nothing to improve their current state, as Parker returned to his leadership role at the point, directing an attack that was methodical, precise and without doubt.
In pre-game comments on Spurs Radio, Ginobili was asked about keys to the game. He answered: “We have to make the right decision every time, we can’t afford mistakes.” In a normal game, this is true. In a laugher, not so important.
The Spurs, did, however, play great ball, with an up-tempo game that saw plenty of ball movement and a total team effort, with eight players scoring in double figures. Ginobili, on Spurs Radio before the game, said: “It’s more fun to play games like this, it’s easier to get motivated.”
San Antonio went up 17-8 on Ginobili’s third trey of the first quarter, igniting an already lit up crowd because of his two previous threes. Miami’s head coach Erik Spoelstra was in desperate need of big timeout.
Wade answered the timeout with a trey of his own, closing the gap to 17-11, but Miami’s offensive foul brigade showed up and by the time Wade and James had finished that act, the Spurs Matt Bonner nailed in a three to put the home team up, 25-11, at the 3:15 mark of the first quarter.
Spoelstra burned another timeout, and the Spurs headed for their bench to the tune of a raucous standing ovation. Miami would score one more point before the quarter ended.
Bonner ripped another 3-pointer to put the Spurs up 28-11, giving the Spurs an 11-0 run.
Neal’s first basket of the game was a 3-pointer that put the Spurs on a 14-0 run and a 31-11 lead. DeJuan Blair then blocked a Heat shot, leading to a pair of Parker free throws and another Bonner 3-pointer, 4-of-4 from beyond the arc in the first quarter, put the Spurs on top at the end of one, 36-12.
The Heat’s 12 first-quarter points was the lowest first-quarter scoring against the Spurs this season.
The Spurs hit 8-of-11 three pointers in the quarter, tying the franchise record for most threes in a quarter, and just as importantly, had zero turnovers.
The Heat woke up in the second quarter, scoring 38 points to cut the Spurs 24-point lead in half, heading into intermission down, 62-50.
In the third quarter, the Spurs began pulling away, continuing their attack mode, while the Heat brought in one more intimidation tactic for good measure in proving their play over the last week is more of a mental issue than physical.
Parker drove on Erick Dampier and was fouled in the act of shooting. The basket was good and so was the free throw to put the Spurs up 87-69.
Dampier was then called for a flagrant 2 foul when Parker drove to the basket on the next trip down, shoving Parker hard to the ground. Dampier was immediately ejected from the game, before the officials even reviewed the play. After the review, the call stood, and Miami was toast. The Spurs hit 11-of-19 field goals in the third and were up, 94-72, going into the final frame.The fourth quarter was more of the Spurs, as they played a solid 48-minute game resulting in their best offensive performance of the season.
By game’s end, the Spurs had provided a clear demonstration on leadership and teamwork to Texas governor Rick Perry, sitting court-side along with Spurs owner Peter Holt.
Miami was led by James with 26 points and eight rebounds. Wade added 19 points and Bosh performed a double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds. The Heat lost their third straight game, dropping to third place in the Eastern Conference, and have been playing .500 ball over their last 10 games.
The Spurs had another well-balanced scoring attack, with eight players in double figures, led by Ginobili’s 20 points and seven assists. Bonner went 6-for-7 from 3-point land for 18 points. Neal scored 16 and Parker added 15 points with eight assists. Hill and Jefferson each scored 11. Duncan turned in a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds in 26 minutes of action. Also adding to the double-digit effort was DeJuan Blair with 10 points.
As a team, the Spurs shot 56 percent from the field, hitting 46-of-82 field goals, including 17-of-28 from beyond the arc. The 17 long-range bombs set a franchise record. They won their 22nd straight home game and improved their league-best record to 51-11.
Bonner, in post-game comments on Spurs Radio, said: “It was a blast, we got the ball moving, and everybody was hitting. It’s a big win for us”
Assistant coach Don Newman told Spurs Radio after the game: “I thought the focus was tremendous. It was certainly a fun game. This is good for us, playing a team like Miami. We passed the test tonight and we’ve got another one on Sunday against the Lakers.”
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