Heat Check: Turnovers trouble Miami against San Antonio
It was a Texas two-step back for the Miami Heat.
Two nights after losing at Houston, the Heat dropped a 111-87 decision to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night in a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals teams.
After falling behind by as many as 17 in the second quarter, fought back to pull within five points late in the third quarter. They could get no closer, however, before the Spurs pulled away in the fourth.
The game’s early minutes focused on fashion. Both teams wore V-neck short sleeves — "El Heat" on the front of Miami’s jerseys — and then LeBron James removed his protective mask late in the first quarter. He played the rest of the game without it.
James scored 19 points but struggled from the floor, hitting just 6 of 18 (0 of 3 from behind the arc). He also picked up his fourth foul early in the third quarter and played 38 minutes.
A masked King James, who suffered a broken nose at Oklahoma City on Feb. 20, had shot 9 of 18 (0 of 3 in 3-pointers) during a 106-103 loss to the Rockets on Tuesday night. Following his 61-point performance on Monday against Charlotte, James was shooting 58.3 percent.
Chris Bosh, who had just five points at Houston, scored a team-high 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting. Dwyane Wade had 16 points and Michael Beasley added 11 off the bench.
The Heat (43-16) now have as many losses as they did all of last season when they finished 66-16 en route to winning a second straight NBA title.
San Antonio forced the Heat to commit 21 turnovers that led to 21 Spurs points. Tim Duncan (23 points) led four double-figure scorers for the winners (45-16).
Point guard Mario Chalmers scored only five points and shot 2 of 7 in 27 minutes.
Forward Chris Andersen picked up three fouls in eight first-half minutes and finished with six points in 17 minutes total.
Center Greg Oden entered with 7:14 left in the first half and Miami trailing 45-31. He picked up his first foul six seconds in. He did not play in the second half.
The Heat trailed 62-51 at the half. The Spurs shot 62.9 percent (22 of 35) and outscored Miami 30-22 in the paint. Power guys Duncan and Boris Diaw shot a combined 8 of 9 during the first 24 minutes.
Miami, which surrendered 39 first-quarter points to Houston two nights earlier, trailed 37-22 after one period.
THE TURNING POINT
The Spurs used a 10-3 run to go ahead 89-77 with 9:08 left in the fourth quarter and pulled away from there.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
Kawhi Leonard had 11 points, five rebounds and five steals and did a terrific job defending James.
STAT OF THE GAME
Miami scored just 13 fourth-quarter points.
The Heat will play the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on Sunday at 1 p.m.