Miami Heat 110, San Antonio Spurs 80: 30 points is either nothing or a lot

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Just over a week ago the Spurs beat the Heat by 30 points in a runaway laugher. The Heat returned the favor tonight, running just as far, laughing just as hard, step for step, cackle for cackle, point for point.

San Antonio played Miami tough, at least for the first 7:30 minutes. But with 4:18 left in the first quarter Gregg Popovich subbed for his starters and the Spurs’ bench couldn’t maintain. A slow trickle of errors gave itself over to a deluge of failures and this game was over before halftime.

  • San Antonio’s bench contributed a paltry 21 points, many of which came when the game was already out of reach.
  • The Spurs shot a mere 4-22 from the three point arc.
  • Matt Bonner’s defense on Chris Bosh was, in a word, bad. In two words, it was very bad. It was so bad, in fact, that Gregg Popovich benched his star shooter. Zero minutes in the second half. Coach B would not have been impressed.
  • San Antonio’s interior defense was soft and porous; Miami set up early in the paint, got to the rim, drew fouls, and, in general, steamrolled the Spurs.
  • It’s too easy to say the Spurs missed shots they normally make, although that was true. It’s more accurate to say Miami played a great defensive game, pushing the Spurs off their spots and into a bad percentage.

So, what are we to make of this game? In a vacuum, nothing. But this is now the second time in eight days the Spurs have been embarrassed by another contender. Their recent 83-99 loss to the Lakers wasn’t nearly as close as the final score would indicate. It’s concerning that the Spurs are limping to the finish line after such an overwhelmingly positive start.

But let’s not read too deeply into the tea leaves. Maybe this game was nothing more than a fun exchange of I punch you in the face, you punch me in the face, now let’s go home. Two bad losses in a  tight span is just as likely to mean nothing as it is to mean anything.

Although, Friday’s game at Dallas now takes on more meaning. It’s not simply a test to see how the Spurs match against a potential playoff opponent. It’s an opportunity to think more carefully about this question: Has San Antonio’s mighty ship begun to take on water?