Depleted Spurs nearly carve out victory against Miami

By Quixem Ramirez

Nov 29, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs point guard Cory Joseph (5) is pressured by Miami Heat point guard Norris Cole (30) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 105-100. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

[Editor’s note: The Spurs’ 105-100 loss to Miami was covered by staff writer Richard Perez.]

In one of the strangest stories before the start a game, David Stern issued a statement apologizing for the actions of the Spurs for flying Danny Green, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker home to San Antonio.

Wrapping up the final road game of the stretch of four games in five days, the Spurs were taking on the defending champion Miami Heat. A nationally televised game on TNT, San Antonio was considered heavy underdogs with the roster boasting, as TNT noted, “a bunch of no-names” on their lineup.

The night started rough for the Spurs, but they hung around for the entire first half, taking a five point lead at the end of the first quarter, only to implode in the second, ending the half with a three point deficit.

Led by Nando De Colo, the Spurs were beating the Heat quite handily in the second half, and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was livid. During his interview, it was obvious that Spoelstra was upset that the defending championships ceded a three-point advantage entering the final frame.

The fourth quarter went back and forth, with the Spurs still in the lead. But as the game grinded to a halt, the Heat rallied back. A dagger 3-pointer from Ray Allen, putting the finishing touches on a 20-point night, put Miami up two points with 22.6 seconds remaining. The Heat didn’t relinquish the lead, cruising to a narrow 105-100 victory.

A loss will be shown on the record books, but the deeper story is how De Colo essentially rallied this team along with Gary Neal and James Anderson. There was never a silly moment as the young De Colo was lighting it up; I was thoroughly impressed by his level of play and his hustle. Saying that De Colo was the biggest hustler on the court that night is a HUGE understatement.

I think he just earned a lot of respect from Coach Popovich and Spurs fans.

It wasn’t all De Colo though. Anderson, Matt Bonner, and Tiago Splitter each pitched in at least nine points.

Tiago continued his recent streak of impressive games as a Spur and I feel like his confidence just got a giant boost.

Splitter is the co-MVP along with De Colo for this game. Splitter definitely made his presence felt.

Despite the outcome, it does feel like a win for the Spurs — a major plus going into a tough home game against Memphis.

Next opponent: The Spurs will return home to San Antonio to take on division foe Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night. The game will be broadcasted locally on Fox Sports Southwest, and can be heard live on 1200 AM WOAI.