Despite the "injuries" that sidelined LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers, the Miami Heat got a game-winning three from Chris Bosh with under two seconds left that helped complete a stunning 88-86 victory over the host San Antonio Spurs.
The win helped the Heat take firm control of the race for home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, as Miami now holds a full three-game advantage (plus the tie-breaker) over the West-leading Spurs.
With so much at stake, it seemed risky for coach Erik Spoelstra to rest three of his starters with dubious injuries.
But there might be something to be said for not tipping one's hand too early. By benching James, Wade and Chalmers, Spoelstra made sure the Spurs would have to wait until a potential NBA Finals matchup before seeing Miami at full strength.
Plus, the decision gave Gregg Popovich a taste of his own medicine—the Spurs infamously rested some of their big guns when these two teams last met on Nov. 29.
San Antonio paid for its decision to rest Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green in that game, largely because those players didn't even travel with the team and the club failed to provide a satisfactory explanation for their absences.
Ultimately, Spoelstra and the Heat got absolutely everything they wanted from their ugly win over the Spurs: They all but secured home-court advantage, avoided fines from the league office and didn't give the Spurs a look at their regular lineup.
That's a win-win-win situation.