by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
When news broke that Pop would be resting Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Danny Green (a decision that was responded to in a ridiculous, yet unsurprising manner by the NBA) last night against the Heat, many thought Miami would steamroll the Spurs. While the Heat did eventually win, Pop once again showed that he is the evil genius of the NBA and nearly knocked off the defending champs with a Nando De Colo-Patty Mills starting backcourt.
Miami jumped out to an early 16-6 lead but that was the most comfortable they would feel all night. San Antonio closed out the first on a 21-6 run and took a 27-22 lead into the second quarter and showed that even though their best players were on the bench, they still believed they could win. The Spurs continued to pester the Heat throughout and clung to a 76-73 lead heading into the final 12 minutes.
After five minutes had gone by in the fourth, their lead grew to seven. After a Gary Neal three-pointer with two and change remaining, the Spurs still led by five. That three was the tipping point and the Heat finally decided that they had had enough and closed the game on a 12-2 run. With thirty seconds left, James drove the lane, fumbled the ball, regained composure and somehow found a wide open Allen for a clutch three that gave Miami the lead for good. James’ feel for the game is unmatched.
— James was masterful once again and finished with 23 points, 9 boards, 7 assists and 4 steals. Chris Bosh finished with 18 and 12, DWade with 19 and Allen with 20.
— Pop is awesome.
— Four out of five Spurs starters (Diaw / Bonner / Splitter / De Colo) and Gary Neal (20 points) scored in double-figures. The Spurs are deep as hell.
— Miami is now 7-0 at home.
Behind a season-high 31 points/9 rebounds/6 assists from David Lee and a waived off buzzer beater by Andre Iguodala, the Warriors outlasted the Nuggets for a tough win out in the Bay. The Nuggets were red hot in the second quarter, shooting 15-23 from the field and took a 60-51 lead into the half. In the third, Denver had the game in tow after a 13-6 run led to a 16-point lead but Mark Jackson’s bunch hung tough and kept chipping away.
Golden State outscored the Nuggets 28-19 in the fourth quarter and persevered through an exhausting final minute that saw four replay reviews by the refs. The first review came after Jarrett Jack fouled Andre Iguodala in the act of shooting of a three. Dre stepped to the stripe with a chance to tie but he missed the third and Denver trailed by one. Golden State’s Draymond Green knocked the ball out of bounds going for the rebound off the missed free throw (another play that was reviewed) and the ball went back to Denver with about three seconds left. Andre Miller then threw a terrible pass that was deflected out of bounds by Golden State (and reviewed again) giving the ball back to the Nuggets once more. On the next inbounds play, Iguodala caught a cross-court pass and nailed a three with a hand in his face and the Nuggets ran off the court in celebration thinking that they had one the game. Instead, the refs took reviewed it, the call was overturned and this one was finally over.
— Steph Curry scored 20 and dropped 10 dimes. Klay Thompson scored 21.
— Iguodala led the Nuggets with 22 points. Ty Lawson scored 17, dished out 9 assists and grabbed 4 boards. Danilo Gallinari scored 20 and grabbed 9 boards.
— The Nuggets and Warriors have played each other three times in 20 days. That is dumb.
— The Warriors are three games over .500 since they were 7-4 early last year.