SAN ANTONIO – Opponents usually end up on the wrong side of the ledger when the Spurs move the ball as well as they did against the Miami Heat on Wednesday night at the AT&T Center.
The Silver and Black passed the ball so proficiently that they finished with 30 assists and had eight players score in double figures in a 117-105 victory. Since the 2015-16 season, the Spurs are 37-0 when they have at least 29 assists.
“We had 30 (assists) last game, too, I believe,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, referring to the team’s 30 assists in a 96-93 win over Detroit on Monday. “So that’s always wonderful, and then you sit down and you start feeling good about it, (and) you realize that Golden State does that every night. And you go, OK, we’ve got a long way to go. Don’t get too excited. But it is great to see.”
San Antonio’s scoring was as balanced as it was steady. LaMarcus Aldridge topped the list with 18 points, followed by Bryn Forbes (17), Rudy Gay (16), Patty Mills (13), Pau Gasol (12), Danny Green (12), Manu Ginobili (10) and Tony Parker (10).
Parker just missed getting a double-double, finishing with nine assists in 20 minutes. He had another solid game since he made his season debut Nov. 27 against Dallas, hitting 5 of 7 shots and running the offense efficiently. He played in the fourth quarter for the first time since he returned to the lineup, and went 3 for 3 from the field for six points in three minutes.
“When we get a lot of assists, we usually end up coming out with the win,” Forbes said. “Playing with some great point guards helps, too, with Patty, Tony, even Manu. It just helps the way we move the ball. It helps everybody.”
The Spurs (17-8) end their three-game home stand Friday night against the Boston Celtics, who have the best record (22-4) in the NBA. Miami dropped to 11-13.
Seizing on their crisp ball movement, the Spurs (17-8) shot 52.9 percent overall (46/87) and were 52 percent (13/25) from the three-point line.
“It comes from everybody being willing to make a pass,” said Rudy Gay, who started his second consecutive game at small forward. “For us to be successful, we have to find the open man and pass up a good shot for a great shot, and we’ve been doing that well these last few games.
“I think that’s one of the great things about this system, is that everyone plays for each other and it ends up in the win column. That’s part of the reason I came here.”
In his 12th NBA season, Gay signed with the Spurs as a free agent this summer after playing the past four seasons with Sacramento.
A second-year pro out of Michigan State, Forbes set a career-high with five three-pointers. Mills hit 3 of 6 from beyond the arc and Green was 2 of 4.
“The one I hit off the glass, I was like, OK, maybe I can get rolling,” Forbes said, chuckling. “Some nights it goes in, some nights it doesn’t. You’re just trying to stay as even as you can, and shoot the best shots you can find.”
The Heat, who were 18 of 34 from beyond the arc, and Spurs drained a combined 31 of 59 three-pointers. Miami made 9 of 17 in each half, but were only 2 of 7 in the fourth quarter.
Tyler Johnson (25) and Dion Waiters (22) led the Heat’s scoring. Miami shot 54.2 percent (39/72) from the field.
Trailing 58-57 at the half, the Spurs outscored the Heat 29-24 in the third quarter to take an 86-82 lead into the final period. Forbes hit 3 of 3 shots from the three-point line in the third quarter.
Johnson (11 points), Josh Richardson (10) Dion Waiters (10) helped the Heat take a 58-57 halftime lead. Aldridge (10) was the only Spur who scored in double figures in the first half.
Both teams shot well in the first quarter and were a combined 15 of 31 from the three-point line in the first half. The Heat hit 9 of 17 shots (52.9 percent) from beyond the arc, and the Spurs were 6 of 14 (42.9 percent) from long distance.
Miami shot 57.5 percent (23/40) in the first half and the Silver and Black were 51.1 percent (23/45). San Antonio had 16 assists on its 23 made field goals.