San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat Takeaways: A rough night in Vice City
By Dylan Carter
The San Antonio Spurs failed to complete a fourth quarter comeback in Wednesday evening’s 95-88 loss to Hassan Whiteside and the Miami Heat.
After a hot start to the season, the San Antonio Spurs are on their first losing streak of the year after collapsing against the Miami Heat. In one of his worst performances of his tenure as a Spur, LaMarcus Aldridge hit 2-of-14 shots for six points and 16 rebounds.
In his best game of the young season, Miami center Hassan Whiteside dominated the paint for 29 points and 21 rebounds in 32 minutes of play.
The 29-year-old asserted himself on the defensive end, blocking nine shots in the contest. Whiteside broke San Antonio’s nine-game winning streak against Miami for his first career victory against head coach Gregg Popovich and the crew.
It was a sloppy all-around effort by the Spurs, who shot just 33 percent from the field while committing 19 personal fouls and 12 turnovers. The absence of small forward Rudy Gay and center Pau Gasol left San Antonio exposed in the frontcourt but there was a silver lining to the embarrassing loss.
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In a valiant effort, All-NBA shooting guard DeMar DeRozan snagged a career-high 14 rebounds to go with 18 points, eight assists, two steals and a block. While DeRozan made his presence known but stuffing the stat sheet and hitting a three-pointer, he struggled to connect on shots efficiently.
Still, San Antonio will rely on DeRozan to initiate offense and take care of the ball as a primary playmaker. The team crumbles when he performs inefficiently, so his 6-of-15 shooting, three fouls and three turnovers took a toll on the Spurs’ production.
Latvian sharpshooter Davis Bertans provided a necessary spark off the bench with a season-high 19 points with four triples and four rebounds.
The longest tenured Spur, point guard Patty Mills, led the team in scoring with 20 points off the pine for Coach Pop. With his teammates failing to connect on their jump shots, Patty took it upon himself to carry the offensive load for the second unit.
It’s never a good sign when Patty leads the team in shot attempts. He connected 36.4 percent of his 22 shots and was one of seven Spurs to finish below 50 percent shooting from the field in the contest.
The season debut of sophomore Derrick White was underwhelming, as White finished scoreless in 16 minutes. Despite acting as a non-factor on offense, White was comfortable and confident with the ball in his hands. To truly secure his spot in the starting lineup, White needs to compose himself and allow the game to come to him instead of forcing up bad shot attempts.
The Spurs cut the lead to as low as 5 points in the fourth quarter but failed to complete the comeback. It was reassuring to see the team put together a stretch of good offense, but it came too little too late for San Antonio.
Next up on the schedule is a return to the Alamo City for the first of three meetings with the rival Houston Rockets. The Spurs will look to take advantage of the Rockets, who split the first four contests of their five-game road trip.