Heat to battle Spurs without Tyler Herro and perhaps Jimmy Butler
Posted on: 12 Nov, 2023 at 07:35 AM
Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
The host San Antonio Spurs look to get back on the winning track when they square off against the surging but short-handed Miami Heat on Sunday in an interconference matchup.
The Spurs have lost four straight games, including a 117-110 setback at home to Minnesota on Friday in the team's first game of the NBA's in-season tournament. Victor Wembanyama and Devin Vassell scored 29 points each for San Antonio, with Jeremy Sochan adding 14 and Zach Collins chipping in 11.
San Antonio led for the majority of the first half but let the win get away in the third quarter, when it was outscored by 15. The Spurs made a spirited run in the final minutes, cutting their deficit to five points but could not get over the hump.
The rally was a change from San Antonio's previous two losses, when it fell by an average of 31 points.
"Our young guys played their butts off," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after the loss to the Timberwolves. "Totally different game than Indiana or New York. Nobody likes to lose, but there's all kinds of good things in this game."
The production by Vassell, who's been battling an abductor injury, tied a career-high in points.
"I'm patient, and we're patient as a group," Vassell said. "We didn't get the outcome that we wanted today. Today was a big step. The past couple of days, let's be honest, we were getting blown out."
The Spurs have dropped three straight games at home to Miami.
The Heat head to San Antonio for the second of a back-to-back that began Saturday with a 117-109 win in Atlanta. Bam Adebayo racked up 26 points and 17 rebounds in the win, with Jaime Jaquez Jr. hitting for 20 points, Kyle Lowry adding 17, Josh Richardson scoring 16 and Duncan Robinson and Haywood Highsmith tallying 11 points each.
Miami won on the second of a four-game road trip and has captured four straight contests overall.
After Sunday's game with the Spurs, Miami travels to Charlotte on Tuesday, back home on Thursday against Brooklyn and then plays its ensuing five contests away from home. That makes getting a win over a struggling San Antonio team important in a difficult stretch.
The Heat's win on Saturday came without star forward Jimmy Butler, who was unavailable for personal reasons, and guard Tyler Herro, who is nursing a right ankle sprain. Butler's availability for Sunday's game is yet to be determined.
"Situations happen," Adebayo said after Saturday's morning shootaround. "We work hard in the summer so when we have situations like this when we're down men, we can still get a win."
Part of the winning equation for the Heat this season has been its defense. Miami ranked in the top 10 in the league in defensive rating heading into Saturday's game in Atlanta.
"It's still not where I want it to be in terms of a consistency standpoint, but we're making a lot more efforts," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. "It's not where we want to settle in. We'd like to be better than (10th), but it's getting closer."
--Field Level Media