The game was supposed to be an early look at what could be the NBA Finals match up on national television.
Luckily even with the cloud of controversy hovering over it, that is what the game turned out to be.
The Miami Heat were coming four days rest before Thursday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs at American Airlines Arena. The team was expecting a tough test against a perennial contender in the Spurs as they hoped to remain undefeated at home.
That changed on Thursday afternoon when Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich announced that he sent Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Danny Green home to San Antonio to rest after playing the previous night. That left the Spurs with only nine available players to play.
With that news becoming the main storyline of the game the Heat, who themselves were shorthanded by Shane Battier‘s knee injury, suddenly faced a much different opponent. The Spurs didn’t play like it.
The game became a back and forth contest after the Heat jumped to an early lead. The tough defense that Miami rode to a championship last season was still missing and that was more evident due to the absence of Battier. This also followed a pattern that the Heat have shown since the formation of the ‘Big 3’ than involves playing down to the talent level of their opponents. Despite this, Miami kept the game close even as San Antonio maintained a lead for the majority of the game.
Then LeBron James decided to take it up a notch.
James led a run late in the fourth quarter that culminated is a pass to Ray Allen for a three point shot with 22 seconds left that gave Miami the lead for good.
With the victory Miami have started the season with a 7-0 home record. That is the best home start in Heat franchise history.