Miami 95 at San Antonio 125

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NBA-best Spurs crush skidding Heat 125-95
By PAUL J. WEBER, Associated Press Saturday, Mar 5, 2011

SAN ANTONIO (AP)—Tony Parker(notes) wasn’t supposed to be back this soon.

Then again, the Miami Heat weren’t supposed to get steamrolled like this, either.

But the San Antonio Spurs have their star point guard back well ahead of schedule, and LeBron James(notes) and the Heat absorbed a second humiliation in as many games after getting blown out 125-95 by the NBA leaders Friday night.

It’s the worst loss this season for the Heat, who’ve lost four of five. This embarrassment wrapped up barely 24 hours after another one Thursday night, when Miami blew a 24-point lead in a stunning loss to Orlando.

After only the first quarter in San Antonio, the Heat were already down 24.

“They outplayed us, blitzed us, and there’s really nothing else to say,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Manu Ginobili(notes) led the NBA-best Spurs (51-11) with 20 points. He scored 11 of those during a runaway first quarter that left the Heat looking as rattled as they did in the second half against Orlando a night earlier.

Parker made a surprise return to the starting lineup and had 15 points and eight assists, less than a week after the Spurs feared their point guard might miss up to a month with a strained calf muscle.

“I disagreed,” Parker said. “I was telling my doctor, I don’t need a week.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich joked that his French star’s quick turnaround was thanks to a “foie grois and truffle” treatment that really worked.

The Heat? They weren’t in such a light mood.

Miami’s previous worst loss was a 28-point blowout against Denver on Jan. 13. That came in the midst of the Heat’s last meltdown, when they were stuck in another stretch of losing four of five.

Here they go again.

“We’re still a confident bunch,” James said. “We know it’s a tough stretch for us right now. We lost three games in a row, but I feel like all it takes is one win.”

James scored 26 points and Dwyane Wade(notes) had 19. It won’t get much easier for the Heat, who return home to play Chicago on Sunday. Then they’ll face Portland, the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis before hosting the Spurs on March 14.

San Antonio isn’t getting a break, either. The Spurs have another tough one Sunday against the Lakers.

But unlike the Heat, things couldn’t be going better for the Spurs.

“It’s just better when the best teams come in here and you can really lock in and see what we have,” Spurs forward Tim Duncan(notes) said.

San Antonio hit a franchise-record 17 3-pointers, including eight in the first quarter. Matt Bonner(notes) was 4 of 4 and Ginobili went 3 for 4.

So stunning was the lopsided surge that the typically reserved Duncan mouthed “game over” while the Heat sulked to the bench after calling another timeout.

It was still the first quarter.

“That’s a ridiculous night as far as 3s go,” Popovich said. “It’s very rare. We had it tonight and we’re thankful for it. It made for a wonderful night.”

Spoelstra preached “adversity” and “collective resolve” with reporters before the game. He said that following the Heat’s incredible collapse against Orlando on Thursday night, team president Pat Riley joined him in trying to brainstorm ways to get the team out of another funk.

Instead, they came up speechless.

“Part of the conversation was … just sitting there, in silence, while both of us were trying to think about what we can do next,” Spoelstra said.

San Antonio, meanwhile, crossed another opponent off its list.

Beating the revamped Heat in their first meeting left the Spurs with a victory over every NBA team this season except Boston—which extended its East lead over the Heat to three games.

The Spurs host the Celtics on March 31.

Bonner finished with 18 points and Duncan had 11 points and 14 rebounds. Richard Jefferson(notes) scored 11 points and DeJuan Blair(notes) had 10 as every Spurs starter was in double figures.

Gary Neal(notes) added 14 points off the bench.

The Spurs extended their franchise-record home winning streak to 22 games. It’s just another milestone in what is so far the best regular season in team history.

Chris Bosh(notes) had 17 points and Mike Miller(notes) 12 for the Heat. Erik Dampier, making his sixth straight start, had no points and two rebounds before being ejected for shoving Parker hard to the ground in the third quarter.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Miami
L. James LeBron James
11-19,  26 Pts
8 Rebs, 7 Assists
 San Antonio
M. Ginobili Manu Ginobili
7-15,  20 Pts
3 Rebs, 7 Assists

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Friday, Mar 4