Miami (16-13) at San Antonio (18-11)

Fair Currently: San Antonio, TX
Temp: 97° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Thu Dec 31, 2009
  • TV: TNT
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The San Antonio Spurs will conclude this decade with the league’s most regular-season wins. They’ve done a good job of adding to that total over the past three weeks.

The Spurs look to win for the 10th time in 12 games and continue their dominance of the Miami Heat on Thursday at the AT&T Center.

For the past 10 years, San Antonio (18-11) has been a model of excellence in the NBA. The Spurs have amassed an league-best 573 regular-season victories since Jan. 1, 2000, while also winning three championships.

San Antonio, which hasn’t missed the playoffs since 1997, got off to a bit of a slow start to this season, but has recently been one of the league’s hottest teams. After losing three straight Dec. 3-7 to drop to 9-9, the Spurs have gone 9-2 to charge into the thick of the Southwest Division race.

San Antonio’s recent run of success means little to its hard-to-please coach.

“All I care about is how we’re playing and if we’re improving,” Gregg Popovich said Tuesday after an easy 117-99 win over Minnesota. “We have a long way to go.”

Although Popovich feels San Antonio has room for improvement, the team is undoubtedly playing excellent ball right now.

The Spurs are averaging 105.9 points on 51.4 percent shooting in their last 11 games, while outrebounding opponents by an average of 5.7 in that span.

“We got 50 games to go,” Richard Jefferson(notes) said. “Our final product is going to be determined by the end of the year, not our win-loss record in January or December.”

Jefferson led six San Antonio players in double figures Tuesday with 24 points, while Manu Ginobili(notes) added 14 points with 10 assists and nine rebounds.

Jefferson’s improved play over the past few weeks has helped key the Spurs’ surge. The 6-foot-7 forward is averaging 14.5 points and shooting 52.5 percent shooting in the last 11 games after averaging 8.9 points on 33.3 percent in his previous seven. He scored 32 points in his last game against Miami, a 102-85 loss for Milwaukee on March 28.

The Heat (16-13) arrive in San Antonio following Wednesday’s 95-91 loss at New Orleans, snapping a three-game winning streak.

Miami trailed by 15 points early in the fourth quarter but stormed back to take an 88-87 lead when Quentin Richardson(notes) tipped in Dwayne Wade’s missed jumper with 59 seconds to go. The Hornets then scored the next six points to put the game away and hand the Heat their second loss in seven games.

“On the road, you’ve got to give yourself a chance to win and we did that,” said Wade, who finished with 22 points.

Miami hasn’t been in position to win often in San Antonio.

The Spurs have won 12 of 15 over the Heat overall, and 20 of 22 all-time meetings in San Antonio. Miami’s 99-83 win over the Spurs on Nov. 7, 2008, snapped a 10-game road losing streak in the series.

Wade has played well despite his team’s struggles with the Spurs, averaging 28.0 points and 10.0 assists in his last three games against them.

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Thursday, Dec 31