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Spurs 111, Heat 87

The SportsXchange

SAN ANTONIO - One day after Miami Heat forward LeBron James said he did not believe that the San Antonio Spurs are too old to contend for another spot in the NBA Finals, the Spurs seemed to confirm that assessment.

The oldest of the Spurs, 37-year-old forward Tim Duncan, produced 23 points and 11 rebounds as San Antonio defeated Miami 111-87 Thursday.

The victory was the first for the Spurs (45-16) this season over any of the other four teams with the best records in the NBA. They were 0-8 against Oklahoma City, Indiana, Miami and Houston before Thursday.

Guard Tony Parker scored 17 for the Spurs, and forward Boris Diaw added 16.

Forward Chris Bosh, the most consistent Miami player all night, scored 24 points. James, shedding the mask he had been wearing to protect a broken nose, scored 19 for the Heat (43-16). Guard Dwyane Wade added 16.

The Spurs led by 17 early in the second quarter, but Miami used a five-point possession with 31 seconds left in the half to close to within eight.

James made two free throws, and Miami retained the ball because Diaw had been called for a clear-path foul for grabbing James as he sprinted out on a fast break. Forward Michael Beasley then hit a 3-point shot, and the Heat had serious momentum.

Diaw atoned for his foul, though, making a 3-pointer of his own with 1.8 seconds left to give San Antonio a 62-51 lead at the half.

Miami dominated most of the third quarter, converting five straight shots during one stretch, followed by another span when the Spurs missed five in a row. The Heat had the deficit down to five points, with less than 30 seconds remaining in the period. But the Spurs responded with a 3-pointer, as they did at the end of the first half, this time by guard Patty Mills.

NOTES: Spurs reserve F/C Jeff Ayres missed the game with a hand injury suffered in practice Wednesday. ... Miami C Greg Oden played in his 15th game this season. The Heat could have used Oden against Rockets C Dwight Howard during a loss at Houston on Tuesday, but coach Erik Spoelstra maintained his policy of not allowing Oden to play two days in a row. The Heat faced the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday. Oden has spent most of his career recovering from knee injuries. ... The Spurs, who rank second in the NBA in assists at nearly 25 a game, outdid themselves twice in a span of four recent games. They matched their season-best with 34 assists, on 44 baskets, against the Detroit Pistons. They assisted on 39 of 43 baskets at Cleveland on Tuesday. ... Heat F Michael Beasley began the night with career bests in shooting accuracy (51.5 percent) and 3-point accuracy (45.5 percent).
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