If the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs meet in the NBA Finals, the film they have from their two regular-season games will be pretty worthless.
When the teams played Nov. 29 in Miami, the Spurs had sent home starters Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green. On Sunday night in San Antonio, the Heat sat starters LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers.
It didn’t end up mattering. Miami stunned the Spurs 88-86 as Chris Bosh drilled a 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left.
Heat officials said before the game James had suffered a right hamstring strain in the first half Friday at New Orleans, although he played in the second half. Wade had injured his right ankle last Wednesday at Chicago, but played against the Hornets. And Chalmers had sat out against the Hornets due to a sprained right ankle.
“I could see how you guys can draw that conclusion, but no,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters before Sunday’s game about the Miami players sitting having nothing to do with what the Spurs did last November.
The Spurs were fined $250,000 for having sent the players back to San Antonio before a game that the Heat won 105-100. Because the Miami players were in San Antonio and specific injuries were listed, it’s doubtful the Heat would incur a fine.
The Spurs were without Ginobili on Sunday due to a hamstring injury suffered Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers. San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich told reporters that Ginobili could be out for “weeks’’ and that it’s a “huge blow.’’
The win by Miami (58-15) puts a stranglehold on having the NBA’s top record and homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. San Antonio (55-18) is now three games behind, and the Heat own the tiebreaker by having won the season series 2-0.
It marked the first game James has missed this season. Because the Heat did not play at San Antonio during the 2011-12 lockout season, their two biggest stars, James and Wade, haven’t played a game there since March 4, 2011.