Miami, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Kawhi Leonard posted 22 points and nine rebounds with a full line and the San Antonio spurs picked up an 95-81 win over the Miami Heat on Tuesday.
Tim Duncan had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Tony Parker scored 16 points for the Spurs, who have won three straight regular-season meetings with Miami after dropping the previous five. Leonard added three assists, four steals and two blocks.
Cory Joseph only scored seven points, but it was his defense and intensity off the bench in the second half that helped the Spurs pull away. Joseph matched a career-high with four steals.
"We know we can't win a championship without defense," said Parker. "Our defense has been great."
Five straight points from James Ennis had Miami within 51-50 early in the third quarter, but Matt Bonner countered with a 3-pointer on the other end. His trey jumpstarted an 18-4 run that spanned more than six minutes and put the Spurs in the driver's seat.
They ended any hopes of a Heat comeback with a 12-2 spurt to open the fourth. Joseph and Leonard both came up with steals and assisted on each other's transition baskets during the flurry.
The lead grew to 83-62 on two Duncan free throws with just under seven minutes left. Miami scored the next five points and 13 of 15 to draw back within 10, but San Antonio regrouped out of a timeout and put the game away. Joseph's offensive rebound led to a Tiago Splitter layup at 2:25, and Leonard drove in for a runner on the next possession.
Goran Dragic paced Miami with 19 points and Dwyane Wade, fresh off dropping 40 against the Pistons, shot just 6-of-20 for 15 points.
"They stepped it up to a different level," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Hassan Whiteside and Mario Chalmers both netted 10 off the bench.
The Heat led 20-19 after a poor-shooting opening quarter for both teams. San Antonio controlled the second and led by eight before Chalmers beat the buzzer with a halfcourt heave.
The Spurs have won four straight games and 14 of 17 ... This was Parker's 1,000th regular-season game ... Chris Andersen had 10 of Miami's 33 rebounds ... The Heat went 12-for-12 from the foul line.