Spurs crush Heat in Finals rematch
San Antonio, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Tim Duncan had 23 points and 11 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs routed the Miami Heat in a wire-to-wire 111-87 win on Thursday night.
Miami thrashed San Antonio in the first meeting between the 2013 NBA Finals participants. The Heat led by as many as 29 in their 113-101 victory over the Spurs on Jan. 26 in South Beach.
"I'm sure this has some special meaning, to say something different would be silly," San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich said of the win.
The Spurs snapped their five-game regular season losing skid against the Heat in the triumph.
Tony Parker tallied 17 points and four assists, while Boris Diaw provided 16 points, eight boards and five assists for the Spurs, who have won five straight and eight of nine overall.
Chris Bosh provided 24 points with seven rebounds and LeBron James supplied 19 points, eight boards and seven assists for Miami, which prevailed in seven games over San Antonio in June for its second consecutive title.
James, who was 6-of-18 from the field while being hounded by Kawhi Leonard, wore his protective mask that shielded his broken nose to begin the game, but ditched it with four minutes left in the first quarter.
"I don't like it," James said of the mask. "It's that simple, just got frustrated with it early on so I took it off. It didn't help me, taking it off. It's probably a game-to-game thing."
The four-time NBA MVP has netted just 41 points over his last two games since going for a career-high 61 in a victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday.
The Heat trailed by as many as 14 early in the third before fighting back and a pair of James free throws pulled them within 79-74.
Patty Mills, though, nailed a right corner triple in the final minute of the quarter to extend the margin to 82-74 heading into the fourth.
Miami fell apart in the early stages of the fourth, turning the ball over seven times in the first six minutes of the frame. Leonard's steal and dunk in transition capped a 13-6 run and upped the advantage to 95-80.
San Antonio led by as many as 24 down the stretch.
The Heat turned the ball over 10 times in the fourth, the most they've had in any quarter this season.
Earlier, the Spurs opened up a 37-22 cushion going into the second after shooting 78.9 percent (15-of-19) in the opening frame.
James went just 1-of-6 and scored two points over the first 12 minutes.
San Antonio went into the break with a 62-51 spread.
An 8-2 Heat spurt got them within 69-61 with 7:54 to go in the third.
The Spurs netted 21 points on 21 Miami turnovers ... Leonard had 11 points, five rebounds and five steals ... San Antonio shot 50.6 percent (40-of-79) from the floor.