SAN ANTONIO – For the fourth straight year, the Miami Heat will end the regular season not knowing what it feels like to be victorious against the San Antonio Spurs.
It is a statistic the Spurs has not let the Heat enjoy since June 8, 2014, when they lost 98-96 to Miami at the AT&T Center in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, who has coached Miami since 2008, had nothing but praise and compliments for the Spurs after he watched his team lose 117-105 Wednesday at the AT&T Center.
"They just get you scrambling and the way they move the ball, it’s exceptional (and) they’re the definition of good to great,” Spoelstra said. “Their half-court pace is up there with anybody else in the league.”
The Heat started the game red-hot, scoring 35 points off of shooting 61.9 percent from the field and 60 percent from the 3-point line to end the first quarter.
Despite cooling down in the second quarter, the Heat managed to keep the lead by one point going into halftime, 58-57.
“Well, they are the second-best defensive team in the league, so it was a little bit surprising that we were able to score 35 in that first quarter,” Spoelstra said.
“We moved the ball, knocked down some open threes, that always helps, and then they started to get the game a little bit more to their liking,” Spoelstra said.
With nine of the 29 points coming from guard Bryn Forbes, the Spurs ended the third quarter up on the Heat, 86-82.
For starting shooting guard Dion Waiters, the Heat was in a position to win the game in the fourth quarter but bad turnovers made the difference in their second matchup against the Spurs.
“Sometimes it happens when you’re being aggressive and you’re trying to make the right play,” Waiters said.
“The turnovers that we did get we got late in the game when it was almost over. We just have to continue to take care of the ball,” Waiters said.
The Heat’s leading scorer Tyler Johnson, who finished with 25 points, said the Spurs turned it on in the second half and came out on a mission to win.
“I just thought they (the Spurs) made shots, they started really making shots, not that they weren’t in the first half. They put pressure on us when they went on that run offensively,” Johnson said.
“We were having to take the ball out of bounds and bring it up the court against a set defense, which is totally different from when you’re getting stops and able to run out in transition, get a couple easy ones, and get a couple guys in rhythm,” Johnson said.
The Spurs (17-8) will look to grab another win on Friday when they host the surging Boston Celtics (22-4) at 8:30 p.m.