SAN ANTONIO (AP)—Coming back to his hometown just isn’t the same for Shaquille O’Neal now that he’s traded purple for black.
His last basket cut San Antonio’s lead to one point with nearly five minutes left, but the Spurs defense held their longtime nemesis scoreless down the stretch en route to victory.
Manu Ginobili scored 29 points for San Antonio.
When he was with the Los Angeles Lakers, O’Neal said, games against San Antonio always meant something.
“This is different now,” he said. “When I was in the purple and gold, it was always two teams fighting for a chance to play in the Finals and win a title.”
O’Neal, a high school star in San Antonio in the 1980s, finished with 23 points and 21 rebounds. Twelve of his points came in the third quarter before he sat down after picking up his fourth foul.
His last hurrah was a putback with 4:44 remaining that pulled Miami within 77-76.
The Spurs then took control with a 13-3 run. The highlight came when Ginobili rebounded his missed free throw in the corner and, unchallenged, calmly lined up and made a 3-pointer to extend San Antonio’s lead to 83-76.
“I grabbed it, nobody was covering me, so I took a shot,” Ginobili said. “It wasn’t a miracle shot. It was just a read.”
Teammate Tony Parker said it was more than that.
“Manu is playing with unbelievable confidence,” said Parker, who finished with 18 points. “Shooting with so much confidence, you can do a lot of stuff.”
Miami coach Stan Van Gundy said Ginobili’s rebound-shot “was definitely a backbreaker for us.”
Tim Duncan added 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Spurs.
The victory was the 400th for Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, all with San Antonio.
The game was touted as Duncan vs. O’Neal, but neither did much in the first half.
O’Neal, roundly booed by Spurs fans who remember the All-Star center’s years with the Lakers, dunked on his first shot, but then his missed six of his last seven of the half. He had six points at the break.
Duncan shot 3-for-7 in each half, and he missed five of six free throws in the second half.
The Spurs had defensive success, led by Rasho Nesterovic and Duncan, who covered O’Neal for most of the game.
Miami’s biggest lead was 6-2 following O’Neal’s first dunk.
The Spurs then went on a 19-4 run, which ended with Parker driving past a flat-footed O’Neal for a layup, pushing the advantage to 21-10.
A 12-footer by Haslem initiated a 16-4 outburst punctuated by Wesley Person’s short jumper, giving Miami a 28-27 lead early in the second quarter.
San Antonio got the lead back on its next possession on a jump hook by Duncan, and later Ginobili converted a four-point play and made a 3-pointer to give San Antonio a 39-29 lead midway through the period.
Duncan is 25 points short of 12,000 for his NBA career. … The Spurs have won 16 straight regular-season home games dating to last March. … O’Neal went 5-for-7 at the line, while Duncan was 5-for-14.