COACHING CHANGES EXPANDED MATCHUPS DEPTH CHARTS CURRENT ODDS
Spurs, Heat set for NBA Finals rematch
(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat will collide Sunday afternoon in a rematch of last season's NBA Finals.
The Heat, of course, won their second straight championship and third overall by taking out the Spurs in seven games. San Antonio could have wrapped up its fifth NBA title, but a Game 6 loss set up a decisive seventh game.
San Antonio enters this anticipated showdown with the Heat winners in 11 of its previous 14 contests, including Friday's 105-79 demolition of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. Tim Duncan had 17 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks, while Tony Parker tallied 11 points and seven assists for the Spurs, who opened a three-game road trip on a high note and rebounded from Wednesday's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"It was a very good performance by San Antonio, they did a lot of things well. It wasn't a good night for us on either end," Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer said.
Duncan tied Shaquille O'Neal (2,732) for seventh place on the all-time blocks list and equaled Allen Iverson for No. 20 spot on the all-time scoring list. He is averaging 14.3 rebounds the last three games.
San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich, meanwhile, tied Red Auerbach for 10th place (938) on the all-time wins list.
The Spurs are unbeaten in their last six away games and have the best road record in the league at 16-3. They have outshot their opponent in 15 of 19 away games and have won all of those contests, and have scored 100 or more points in 14 straight games, the longest such streak under Popovich and surpassing the 13-game run back in 1995-96.
The Spurs did it in 22 straight games in 1994-95.
San Antonio is 28-7 when scoring at least 100 points this season and will close the road trip Tuesday at Houston. The Spurs were without forward Kawhi Leonard, who is expected to miss about a month with a fractured finger.
Miami will try to extend their winning streak to three games and is 2-0 so far on a four-game homestand, which resumed with Thursday's 109-102 outlasting of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Although the Heat never trailed versus the Lakers, the outcome was still in doubt until the final minute when Chris Bosh's 18-footer secured Miami's victory. The Lakers forced 18 turnovers, but allowed Miami to shoot 57.7 percent from the field and never got closer than 103-99.
"I was able to make a good stride today. I'm just trying to do my best and not let the team down," Bosh said.
Bosh and LeBron James finished with 31 and 27 points, respectively, while James added 13 rebounds and six assists. Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers both had 11 points for the Heat, winners in four of five games. Miami is 18-3 as the host and has won its last four in South Beach.
The Heat have played without guard Dwyane Wade the past four games because of a knee issue and he has scored a total of 16 points in each of his last two games after back-to-back 20-point outings. Wade is averaging 18.9 ppg and could miss Sunday afternoon's tilt with the Spurs.
Head head coach Erik Spoelstra is nine wins shy of 300 in his career. It could be a tough challenge for Spoelstra's team against a Spurs defense ranked fifth in points allowed and sixth in opponent field goal percentage.
Miami will host the Thunder on Wednesday and will visit San Antonio on March 6 at the AT&T Center. The Heat swept a two-game series with the Spurs in the regular season and has won four in a row in that capacity. San Antonio has lost three straight regular season matchups at Miami.
01/26 07:35:39 ET