Heat host Spurs in battle of NBA's elite

Two of the NBA's elite teams meet on Thursday night when the defending champion Miami Heat host the San Antonio Spurs at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Heat have not played since a home win Saturday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Miami owns a four-game winning streak and has captured eight of its last 10.

The Heat are a perfect 6-0 at home for the first time in franchise history and their 10-3 start matched a club best. They are the second-best scoring team in the league and will be well-rested.

The Spurs will wrap up a six-game road swing with the Heat game and have gone 5-0 to this point. They are 9-1 outside of San Antonio this season and come in third in scoring in the NBA.

Something will have to give on Thursday.

This could easily be a preview of the NBA Finals, but for now, fans and players will have to settle for two great teams monopolizing the NBA's focus for a night.

"Both franchises are championship franchises, always working toward being a championship franchise, on and off the floor, each and every year," Miami's LeBron James said after practice on Wednesday. "That's definitely great to be a part of."

The Spurs defeated the Orlando Magic 110-89 on Wednesday. Gary Neal got the start for San Antonio with injuries to Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson and contributed 19 points, but it was Manu Ginobili who really carried the Spurs to victory.

Ginobili went 6-for-9 from the 3-point line and added two free throws for 20 points in a little over 23 minutes. Tim Duncan had 15 and Tony Parker chipped in 14.

"Our offense has been clicking," Parker said. "We've been sharing the ball well."

True story.

The Spurs have averaged 111.0 ppg during this trip.

The Heat aren't one of the league's premiere defensive teams, allowing 100.31 ppg. Miami has surrendered over 100 points in five of its last seven outings, but went 5-2 during that stretch.

On Saturday, the Heat had a tougher-than-expected time with the Kyrie Irving- less Cavs. Ray Allen drained the go-ahead 3-pointer with 18.2 seconds left to give them the 110-108 win.

James was his usual awesome self with 30 points on 10-for-16 shooting, six rebounds and five assists. He did have seven turnovers. Chris Bosh, who is averaging 23.7 ppg over the his last three, had 23 and Dwyane Wade helped with 18. Saturday marked the 55th time Miami's version of the Big Three went over 70 points.

The Spurs are 6-3 in their last nine against the Heat, but lost their last two trips to South Beach.