MIAMI -- The circus comes to Miami this week, so it seemed appropriate for the Heat to force the San Antonio Spurs into walking the proverbial tightrope.
For the surging Southwest Division leaders, it wasn't a problem.
Tim Duncan scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and the Spurs trailed for only one possession in a nip-and-tuck 91-84 win over the Heat on Monday night, San Antonio's 14th victory in its last 17 games.
"These guys have been there before," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "They're a seasoned, veteran team that's played in a lot of big games. You could tell how much poise they have out there. They're totally calm in these type of situations. They've experienced it so many different times."
Dwyane Wade had 24 points and 12 assists -- his eighth double-double of the season -- for the Heat, who also got 15 points from Shawn Marion. Michael Beasley had his first double-double, 15 points and 12 rebounds for Miami, which starts a seven-game, 13-day, 7,461-mile road trip in Denver on Wednesday night.
"They're a talented group," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Either team could have won the game. They're trying to play together with a couple of rookies and that always takes time. It doesn't come quickly."
Ginobili sealed it with, well, a circus play with 1:33 remaining.
Miami trailed 84-81 when Wade drove to the rim from the right wing, with Tony Parker getting in front to deter his progress a bit. Wade leaped for a layup -- but Ginobili, who isn't exactly known for high-flying exploits -- swatted it away, setting up a game-clinching jumper by Mason at the other end.
"Play of the game," Spoelstra said.
"He's an athletic guy and it was a great block," Wade said.
The Spurs ran out to a quick 10-point lead and shot 59 percent in the fourth quarter to hold off the Heat, who kept coming back and coming back and coming back -- only to have every rally thwarted.
The Heat were down 21-11 early, then closed the gap to a single point on three occasions in the second quarter.
Each of those times, San Antonio had an answer: a 3-pointer by Hill, jumper by Michael Finley, 3-pointer by Bonner, and that quickly became a trend for the evening.
"That's what they do," Marion said.
Marion got the final two baskets of the first half, including a nifty dunk off an assist from Mario Chalmers with 2.9 seconds left, knotting the game at 39 at the break. With 2:46 left in the third, Marion struck again, tipping in Jamaal Magloire's miss for a 56-55 lead -- Miami's first of the night.
It only lasted 31 seconds. Hill connected for a 3-pointer on San Antonio's next possession, putting the Spurs back on top.
"They hit some big shots when they needed to," Marion said. "It was just a good effort. Just a couple miscues here and there."
One more time, for good measure: Tied at 68, Hill drove on Chris Quinn, got fouled and made the layup to start a three-point play with 9:20 remaining. It started a 7-0 run by the Spurs, who never trailed again.
"We managed to find a way tonight," Duncan said. "Manu makes that [block] and we go down the other end and turn a one-point game into a five-point game. That's the way it went."
Heat guard Daequan Cook, the NBA's fifth-best 3-point shooter over the last month at 53.4 percent, played only 5 minutes after bruising his left knee. X-rays were negative, but he went out with 9:46 left in the second quarter and did not return. ... Spurs C Fabricio Oberto (foot) sat out again, his ninth missed game out of San Antonio's last 10. ... More than a few fans wore Argentina's national soccer jersey and waved that nation's flag, a nod to Ginobili, a hugely popular star in his native country.