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Heat stun Spurs without James and Wade

The SportsXchange

SAN ANTONIO -- The Miami Heat came into Sunday night's game against San Antonio with two of their Big Three sidelined. No LeBron James. No Dwyane Wade.

But they still had Chris Bosh, and he was good enough to get them a big win.

Bosh hit a 3-point bucket with one second on the clock to give the Miami Heat an 88-86 win over the San Antonio Spurs Sunday night at the AT&T center.

Bosh led the Heat with 23 points, going 9-of-15 from the field, but hit the most important shot at the end of the game.

"We were just going. It was not a set play," said Bosh on his last second shot. "Udonis Haslem didn't hesitate to dive. I didn't hesitate to pop and as soon as I saw them put two on the ball I knew my opportunity was there."

Ray Allen added 14, Norris Cole 13 and Mike Miller 12 as Miami (58-15) won without aces LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

"Our guys came in with great passion. It became a dogfight," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "We were fortunate to get a miss (from the Spurs) and then go get a fairly decent open look from three. Chris (Bosh) had already made a couple so we rolled the dice with it."

The highly-anticipated matchup between the two best teams in the NBA damped before the game when Miami officials declared that James (strained right hamstring) and Wade (right ankle sprain) would not play.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra stated pre-game that Wade was injured in Wednesday's game against Chicago, while James Friday in New Orleans. This was the first game James missed all year.

An ironic twist, as San Antonio sent Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green home before their Nov. 29th contest against the Heat to rest their star players. The action resulted in a $250,000 fine by the league, with Commissioner David Stern declaring that the Spurs did not notify the league in a timely manner and were "doing a disservice to the league and fans."

Speculation that the Heat were using the same tactics were thwarted by Spoelstra, stating, "I can see where you guys (media) can draw those conclusions but no."

Popovich responded to the Heat's move by jokingly stating "Are you kidding me?" but added "I have too many things to think about to worry about that kind of thing. It is what it is."

Without their stars, the Heat built a 10 point fourth quarter lead on a Ray Allen 3-pointer with nine minutes left making it 74-64.

San Antonio climbed back up 86-83 with 1:21 on the clock when Tim Duncan hit a jumper, but could not keep the lead.

Parker's attempt to tie the game at the buzzer clanked off the backboard.

"Big shot," said Parker on Bosh's game winner. "Big shot for them and a tough loss for us."

The Heat are on an unprecedented run, winning 30 of their last 31 games, including 27 in a row. Despite the winning streak, Miami came into the game only two games ahead of the Spurs but now are potentially up four games.

Tim Duncan again led the Spurs (55-18) with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Kawhi Leonard also had 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Tony Parker and Danny Green each had 12, and Stephen Jackson 11.

The Spurs outscored the Heat in the paint 46-18 but struggled from the 3-point line, hitting seven of 24.

Parker was continually double-teamed and managed only four field goals.

"They (Miami) did a great job of pick and rolls all night long,' said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "We didn't generate offense anywhere else except through Timmy (Duncan). They did a real good job of that."

The Spurs, who are 32-5 at home, had their third game in a row decided by the final possession.

NOTES: Spurs guard Manu Ginobili sat out Sunday's game with a strained right hamstring. He injured it in the second quarter of Friday's game against the Clippers and will likely be out for an extended period, Popovich said before the game. "It's more than days, more like weeks unfortunately." ... Miami guard Mario Chalmers (sprained right ankle) was held out for his second game and is also listed as day-to-day. ...With its win over the New Orleans Hornets on Friday, Miami clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference for only their third time in franchise history. The Heat did it in the 1998-99 and 2004-05 seasons. ... The Spurs are enjoying one of their best seasons at the free throw line. They entered Sunday's game shooting 79.3 percent from the charity stripe as a team, their best percentage since the 1979-80 season. ... Golfer Rory McIlroy, ranked No. 2 in the world behind Tiger Woods, is in San Antonio to play the Valero Texas Open this week. He sat courtside next to former Heat and Spurs player Bruce Bowen.
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