James, Wade, Chalmers out for Heat against Spurs
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers all sat out the
Miami Heat’s game against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday
James strained his right hamstring in the first half of Friday’s
108-89 victory at New Orleans, according to the Heat. He continued
to play despite the injury, however, scoring 36 points in 32
minutes prior to sitting out late in the blowout victory.
Wade injured his right ankle in Miami’s 101-97 loss to the
Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night, which snapped the Heat’s 27-game
winning streak. Wade had 17 points and nine assists in 33 minutes
Friday against New Orleans.
James and Wade were surprise late scratches while Chalmers did
not play Friday in New Orleans and was listed as day-to-day with a
sprained right ankle.
Miami (57-15) began the day with a two-game lead over the Spurs
(55-17) for the league’s best record and home-court advantage
throughout the playoffs. A win would essentially provide Miami,
which won the teams’ other meeting earlier this season, a four-game
cushion with nine remaining, given that the Heat also would control
any potential head-to-head tiebreaker with San Antonio.
If the Heat lose, the race for home-court advantage throughout
the entirety of the playoffs could turn into a frantic,
None of the three injured players were on the bench for the
first half Sunday. Their absence rekindled the controversy
surrounding San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich’s decision to send Tim
Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green home instead of
having them play the second game of a back-to-back Nov. 19 in
Miami. It was the finale of a six-game road trip, finishing with
four games in five days. The Spurs did not give the NBA or Miami
prior notice of the players’ absences, which led the NBA to fine
San Antonio $250,000.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was asked if San Antonio’s decision to
sit their stars in Miami had an impact on his decision to rest his
stars for this game.
”I could see how you guys can draw that conclusion, but no,”
Spoelstra said before the game.
Unlike Popovich, Spoelstra listed injuries as the reason for his
stars’ absence, which will likely eliminate the chance of the
league fining Miami.
Popovich reacted in mock horror when told James, Wade and
Chalmers were out.
”Are you kidding me?,” Popovich said in mock astonishment.
”Who would think of something like that? That’s below the belt.
There’s no place for that.”