Leonard, Aldridge lead Spurs to 94-90 victory against Heat

SAN ANTONIO -- It was hardly a masterpiece, but there is no such thing as an ugly win, especially when a team is trying to get back its mojo at home. 

Kawhi Leonard scored 24 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 as the sloppy Spurs carved out a hard-fought 94-90 victory against the Miami Heat on Monday night at the AT&T Center. 

The Silver and Black (8-3) led 55-40 at the half and 71-60 after three quarters, but 17 turnovers kept them from running away with the game. The Heat hung tough and trailed only 92-88 after Dion Waiters buried a 3-pointer with 11.6 seconds left. Leonard gave San Antonio a six-point cushion a second later. Miami Hassan Whiteside ended the scoring when he scored on a putback with 2.1 seconds remaining.

"We lost focus in the third quarter with eight turnovers," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. Miami outscored San Antonio 20-16 in thie third period. "I thought their pressure was good and we didn't react very well. We turned it over on offense. 

"You know, we just tried to dribble too much. The ball didn't move around and they got back in the game. They're tough kids, work hard, (are) well coached. They're not going to give in, and they caught up to us."

Aldridge's stat line was indicative of how the Spurs lost their edge in the second half after playing aggressively in the first two quarters. Aldridge scored all of his 18 points in the first half, when he hit 8 of 9 shots. He went 0 for 5 in the last two quarters. The Silver and Black shot 55 percent in the first half (22/40) and had six turnovers in the first two quarters. They shot 26.2 percent (11/42) and had 11 turnovers in the second half.

"I felt like at the beginning of the second half we were out of sync a little bit," Leonard said. "It starts with me. I have to be more patient and run the offense. In the fourth quarter, we kind of got back to ourselves."

Leonard went scoreless in the third quarter and attempted only one shot.

 

The Spurs (8-3) evened their home record at 3-3. They had lost three in a row at the AT&T Center before beating Detroit last Friday night. The Heat dropped to 2-7. 

San Antonio, which is 5-0 on the road, plays at Sacramento on Wednesday and faces the Lakers in Los Angeles on Friday. The Spurs don't have a home game until next Monday, when they play Dallas.

Leonard got his 24 points on 7-of-19 shooting, including 3 of 5 from the 3-point line. He also led the Spurs with 12 rebounds and dished out four assists. He also committed a team-high four turnovers.

"We put a lot of pressure on ourselves," Leonard said, noting the Spurs' 17 turnovers. "We want to be a great basketball club, but we have to take steps and learn from our mistakes tonight and move forward."

Leonard scored 11 of his points in the fourth period, hitting 2 of 6 field-goal attempts and nailing the only 3-pointer he shot in the quarter. He also went 6 of 7 at the free-throw line.

"Kawhi, he's our closer, so to speak," Popovich said. "We can go to him, we can go to LaMarcus, we can go to Pau (Gasol) in certain situations, depending on the matchups and who's open at the time."

Three other Spurs scored in double figures: Gasol (12), Tony Parker (11) and Patty Mills (10). 

Waiters paced the Heat's scoring with 27 points, and Whiteside finished with 23 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. 

Guard Danny Green, who returned to the lineup last week after missing S.A.'s first seven games with a contusion in his left quad, did not play in the second half after getting injured. 

"He felt something in his groin," Popovich said. "He got kicked once and then another time he felt something, so I just decided not to play him."

Backup center Dewayne Dedmon left the game in the third quarter with a sprained left knee and never returned to the floor. 

Here is a quarter-by-quarter breakdown of the Spurs' 94-90 win over Miami on Monday night:

Final: Spurs 94, Heat 90. Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge score 24 and 18 points, respectively, to lead the Silver and Black. San Antonio improves to 8-3 overall and 3-3 at home. 

Fourth quarter (5:41): Spurs 80, Heat 70. Spurs center Dewayne Dedmon sprained his left knee in the third quarter and will not return, team announces. 

Fourth quarter (6:59): Spurs 78, Heat 66. Kawhi Leonard scores five unanswered points for the Silver and Black. He hits a 3-pointer and then nails an eight-foot jumper.

Fourth quarter (8:53): Spurs 73, Heat 66

End of third quarter: Spurs 71, Heat 60. LaMarcus Aldridge leads the Spurs' scoring with 18 points, followed by Kawhi Leonard (13), Tony Parker (11) and Pau Gasol (10). 

Third quarter (8:15): Spurs 61, Heat 47. Tony Parker scores on a fast break to put S.A. up by 14. Parker now has 11 points.  

Halftime: Spurs 55, Heat 40

Leading Heat scorers: Hassan Whiteside (13 points, 5/5), Dion Waiters (9, 4/10)

Leading Spurs scorers: LaMarcus Aldridge (18, 8/9), Kawhi Leonard (13, 5/9)

Leading Heat rebounder: Hassan Whiteside (8)

Leading Spurs rebounder: Kawhi Leonard (7)

Heat shooting percentages: 43.6 overall (17/39); 3-pointers: 18.2 (2/11)

Spurs' shooting percentages: 55.0 overall (22/40). 3-pointers 55.6 (5/9). 

Second quarter (5:53): Spurs 39, Heat 24

Second quarter (8:13): Spurs 37, Heat 21  

End of first quarter: Spurs 25, Heat 19

First quarter (2:44): Spurs 21, Heat 12. 

First quarter (6:05): Spurs 15, Heat 8

Pregame notes: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked by a reporter during his pregame session with the media what he thought when Manu Ginobili said he made a conscious decision a couple of years not to let losses make him miserable. "He lied to you," Popovich said, chuckling. Then Popovich turned serious. "There's nothing wrong with hating to lose, but you can't let it affect your life, and you have to be ready for the next practice and the next game. But he always was, and he didn't take it out on teammates or family members or friends, or anything like that. He beat himself up, and you just hated to see it. But I think that's part of maturity over a period of time. You realize that every game is not going to be a win, so you deal with it a little differently." . . . Popovich also was asked about Tony Parker saying at Monday morning's shootaround that it's harder for him to recover from injuries now that he's older. Parker, 34, missed three consecutive games with a sore right knee before returning to the lineup last week. "I've talked to him for years about don't fall down so much, seriously," Popovich said. "Nobody wants to get a hips replaced later in life. I've hit him a lot with that over the years, try to stay on our feet a little bit better. Sounds simplistic but it's true." Asked if he thought Parker has heeded his advice, Popovich said, "I think he has. He doesn't go down as much as he used to. I don't think it's as much fun. You get up a little differently."

SPURS GAMEDAY: Unbeaten on road, Silver and Black 2-3 at home

Miami Heat (2-6) vs. Spurs (7-3)
Tipoff: 7:30 p.m., Monday, AT&T Center
Heat’s last game: Lost to Utah 102-91, Saturday, Miami
Spurs’ last game: Beat Houston 106-100, Saturday, Houston
Notable: The Spurs beat the Heat 106-99, Oct. 30, Miami

SAN ANTONIO -- It took the Spurs 10 games to finally have all their starters available for the first time this season. The Silver and Black marked the occasion with a 106-100 road victory against the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.

The win was the second in a row for the Spurs, who avenged a 101-99 loss to the Rockets last Wednesday at the AT&T Center. Saturday’s win also came on the second night of a back-to-back for the Spurs. They beat Detroit 96-86 on Friday night at the AT&T Center, bouncing back from the loss to Houston.

The Silver and Black (7-3) play the Miami Heat (2-6) for the second time this season Monday night at the AT&T Center. They downed the Heat 106-99 on Oct. 30 in Miami.

Kawhi Leonard paced the Spurs with 20 points against the Rockets on Saturday and Tony Parker had a season-high 16 points in 27 minutes. It was Parker’s second game back since missing three consecutive starts because of a sore right knee.

San Antonio lost three games in a row for the first time since December 2014 before breaking out of the skid with the victory against Detroit. Parker played in the first game in the slide, but missed the second and third. He hit 6 of 9 shots and dished out three assists against Houston on Saturday night.

The Spurs also have played eight of their first 10 games without Danny Green, who missed the first seven contests of the season with a left-quad contusion. He returned against the Clippers last week, scoring eight points in 26 minutes. Green sat out the game against Detroit on Friday night before returning to the lineup against Houston the next night. He scored five points in 27 minutes.

San Antonio had three others players score in double figures against the Rockets – LaMarcus Aldridge (16), Pau Gasol (15) and Manu Ginobili (12). Aldridge and Gasol led the team under the boards with 10 and seven rebounds, respectively.

Ginobili scored his 12 points in only 15 minutes, hitting 5 of 7 field-goal attempts and going 2 for 2 from 3-point range.

Leonard and Gasol scored 27 and 20 points, respectively in the win at Miami two weeks ago.

The Spurs are 5-0 on the road and have outscored opponents by an average of 12.8 points. Their three losses – again, all at home – have been by an average of 13.6 points. San Antonio went 40-1 at the AT&T Center last season, tying the 1985-86 Boston Celtics’ league record for the most home victories.

Next up for the Spurs: at Sacramento, Wednesday, 9:30 p.m.

(© 2016 KENS)


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