National Basketball Association
<    August    >
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
                  === Heat, Spurs tangle in Finals rematch ===
 (  - One of the league's marquee matchups every season takes
 center  stage Thursday, a rematch of the NBA Finals, when the Miami Heat visit
 the San Antonio Spurs.
 The  Heat prevailed in seven games in June for their second consecutive title.
 The  series was intense, immensely entertaining and heart-breaking for a Spurs
 team that appeared to have wrapped up yet another championship until Ray Allen
 chucked in a miracle 3-pointer to win Game 6.
 The  teams  seem ready  for another run  to a ring.  Miami owns the third-best
 record  in  the league  and  the  Spurs are  fourth,  although  the sides  are
 separated by mere fractional points in terms of winning percentage. Both trail
 the  Indiana  Pacers and  Oklahoma  City  Thunder, the  respective  conference
 leaders, by just 1 1/2 games.
 "It's  always fun  going against a very, very-well coached, very-well machined
 organization  and team  with so many great players," James said. "It should be
 The  Spurs  head into Thursday's tilt  on a four-game winning streak. Three of
 those  victories  came at the AT&T  Center, where San Antonio has actually won
 four straight.
 The most recent win on this run came Tuesday night as the Spurs dispatched the
 Cleveland Cavaliers, 122-101 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
 Danny  Green  led six  San Antonio  players in double  figures with 24 points,
 while Kawhi Leonard added 18 points, Patty Mills and Boris Diaw both scored 16
 and Manu Ginobili and Marco Belinelli finished with 11 apiece for the Spurs.
 Noticeably  absent in  that  scoring rampage  were both  Tim  Duncan and  Tony
 Parker.  They both  had  seven points  apiece, but  the  Spurs were  brilliant
 offensively,  shooting 42.4 percent from long range and handing out 39 assists
 on 43 made field goals.
 "That  was  pretty impressive.  That doesn't happen  often," Spurs coach Gregg
 Popovich  said  of those assist totals.  "We've been doing that all year long,
 but  that's a  ridiculous ratio right there.  I was really proud of them. They
 did a great job."
 The  Spurs will  host the Orlando Magic Saturday night on this mini homestand,
 then visit Chicago on Tuesday.
 The Heat had an eight-game winning streak snapped Tuesday night with a 106-103
 road  loss to the Houston Rockets. It was the start of a very tough three-game
 trip  that will  see the  two-time defending  champs visit  Chicago on  Sunday
 One  night after  scoring a career-high and franchise-record 61 points, LeBron
 James  was held to  22 against the Rockets. On Wednesday, he was named Eastern
 Conference Player of the Month for February
 Dwyane Wade and Michael Beasley each deposited 24 points to lead the Heat, who
 had a chance to tie things late after an unforced Houston turnover, but James'
 deep 3-pointer was off the mark as the buzzer sounded.
 The  Rockets never  trailed  in this  one,  but  the Heat  tied  it with  7:39
 "It  didn't go  our way," said Wade. "In  the third quarter, they got off to a
 bigger lead than we needed them to get to. They have a team that can score the
 ball  and we gave them too much of a cushion. We used up so much energy to get
 back in trying to come back. It was a very good game."
 The Heat prevailed in the Finals and have dominated this series in the regular
 season, as well.
 Miami  has won  five in a row  over the Spurs, including a 12-point victory in
 South  Beach on Jan. 26. The Spurs have taken 12 of the last 14 regular-season
 meetings in San Antonio.
 03/06 09:22:08 ET