7:30 PM ET, January 17, 2012
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
MIAMI -- First half, all San Antonio.
Second half, all Miami -- and then some.
LeBron James had 33 points and 10 assists, Chris Bosh scored 30 points -- the 6-foot-11 forward going coast-to-coast for a dunk to punctuate his effort -- and the Heat used a historic third-quarter turnaround to erase what was a 17-point deficit and beat the Spurs 120-98 on Tuesday night, snapping a three-game slide in a most unpredictable manner.
"We have a great luxury with three players who can do special things when you need it," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
And one of them was in street clothes. Dwyane Wade sat out his fourth game of the season, this time because of a sprained right ankle. No matter: Miami shot 68 percent in the second half, outscoring the Spurs 71-35 after halftime.
"We should be embarrassed," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
For the first 24 minutes, it was the Spurs doing all the embarrassing. San Antonio connected on 12 of its first 15 shots, led 52-35 with 3 minutes to go in the first half, and had Danny Green hit a pair of buzzer-beaters -- the first from the top of the key to end the first quarter, the second from near midcourt to beat the halftime horn -- to take a 63-49 lead into intermission.
What happened next left both sides befuddled.
"Can't explain it," Bosh said.
Offered Spurs guard Tony Parker: "That's basketball."
Miami outscored San Antonio 39-12 in the third quarter -- matching the second-largest differential for any quarter in Heat history, and matching the second-worst differential for a period in Spurs history, according to STATS LLC. James was 7 for 9 in the third quarter. The Spurs -- combined -- were 4 for 19. James hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to put Miami up 72-68, and the Heat simply never stopped rolling from there.
Mr. Third Quarter
Like the rest of the Heat, LeBron James went off in the third quarter, scoring 17 of Miami's 39 points while personally outscoring the Spurs in the frame.
James finished 12 for 21 from the floor, almost erasing any memory of him missing his first four shots. He was battling a cold, but offered no excuse afterward.
"Hopefully I can get over this in the next couple days where I can get back to myself," James said. "I just tried to push through it in the third quarter. My teammates did a great job of finding me and stepping up defensively. We all did that."
Mike Miller made his season debut for Miami after continuing to recover from hernia surgery and shot 6 for 6 on 3-pointers, finishing with 18 points and matching his most makes beyond the arc since joining the Heat. Spoelstra said the plan was to ease Miller back, playing him for "five or six" minutes. Miller played 15.
"Every once in a while you get going when you're a shooter," Miller said. "I just happened to do that."
The Heat are now 4-0 without Wade this season, 8-1 since early last season without the 2006 NBA finals MVP. And unquestionably, this was the most improbable of those victories.
The comeback from down 17 matched the NBA's fifth-largest this season.
Heat Cranked Up In Second Half
Miami prevailed Tuesday night thanks to an impressive second half rally, and without Dwyane Wade, Mike Miller may have made the big difference.
|1st Half||2nd Half|
|3 pt FG||4-11||12-15|
Before the game, Popovich summed his team's all-or-nothing record -- 9-0 at home, now 0-5 on the road -- with his usual dry wit. "We're really good at home and on the road, we (stink). That's the biggest difference," Popovich said.
He was half-serious, and it certainly didn't apply to the way the Spurs started Tuesday.
San Antonio just attacked the basket with little resistance in the early going, eight of its first 12 makes coming from no more than 11 feet and most of them directly at the rim. James was terrible at the start, missing everything from layups to free throws, and the Spurs led 35-26 after the opening quarter.
Everything was going San Antonio's way.
And then, well, nothing went the Spurs' way -- especially after James found his stride.
"There's not much you can do," Parker said. "He was on fire in the third quarter. He's coming in fast breaks and he's shooting threes. There is no defense against that."
Miller appeared to get slightly shaken up after taking a tumble in the first half, limped for a few moments, but remained in the game. ... Spurs' Neal not only played through a bruised thigh, but his luck may be changing. Popovich said Neal narrowly avoided getting his vehicle struck by a large truck on the way to the airport Monday for the trip to Miami. ... Duncan has now faced the Heat 25 times. The Spurs are 17-8 in those games.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||38-80 (.475)||46-79 (.582)|
|3PM-3PA||10-25 (.400)||16-26 (.615)|
|FTM-FTA||12-17 (.706)||12-19 (.632)|
|Fast Break Points||8||8|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||18 (1/0)||19 (0/0)|
Next 5 Games
LeBron James and Chris Bosh have been noticeably more productive when Dwyane Wade sits this season. In fact, the Heat in general have been better without Wade. Miami Heat: With & Without Dwyane Wade 2011-12 Season Without Wade With Wade Team W-L 4-0 5-4 L. James PPG 28.9 32.7 C. Bosh PPG 17.7 25.3 >>Bosh has played 4 games without Wade, James 3
LeBron James and company certainly made up for Dwyane Wade's absence on Tuesday. The Heat trailed the Spurs by 14 points at halftime. Then came the second half, Miami outscored the Spurs 39 to 12 in the 3rd quarter alone. Mike Miller in his first game this season was 6 for 6 from downtown and scored 18 points in the second half.[+]
No Wade No Problem
LeBron James and company rallied from down 14 points at the half and outscored the Spurs 39-12 in the 3rd quarter. LeBron James had 33 points by the end of the 3rd quarter, outscoring the Spurs 17-12 in the third period. LeBron James recorded his 40th 30-point, 10-Assist game. Since he entered the league in 2003-04 that is more than any other NBA player.[+]
The Heat overwhelmed the Spurs in the 2nd half to erase a 14-point halftime deficit and win convincingly, and they did it with their Big 3. That's right -- LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Mike Miller combined to go 19-for-24 from the field and 9-for-11 from 3-point range in the 2nd half, easily outscoring the Spurs by themselves.[+]
Heat Check - 2nd Half Tuesday
ESPN Stats & Information