Just days after the Chicago Bulls ruined Miami’s shot at breaking the Lakers’ record of 33 straight wins, the Heat ventured out west for a showdown with the San Antonio Spurs. Each team had the best record in their respective conferences and many were stating the obvious, calling the game a possible Finals preview.
In the end, though, the match up wasn’t quite able to live up to that hype, as the Heat announced Mario Chalmers, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade would all be sitting for the showdown.
Remember, the Spurs committed a similar act the first time these two met back in November. San Antonio head coach Greg Popovich elected to send Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli and Danny Green home on a commercial flight instead of playing them against Miami.
And the Spurs’ organization paid for that decision, as Commissioner David Stern slapped the club with a whopping fine of $250,000.
Miami did defeat San Antonio in that early season meeting, but only by a margin of five points.
Critics argued the Heat should’ve been disciplined in a similar manner for sitting three of its starters in this matchup, but there was ultimately no action taken by Stern and the NBA. In Miami’s defense, there does tend to be a certain nuance late in the NBA season that permits teams that have already clinched a playoff berth to rest its players if it desires.
Regardless of if the move was right or not, the Heat still managed to come away with a win in thrilling fashion, defeating San Antonio by a score of 88-86. Chris Bosh led the way for Miami, dropping 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting—including the game winning bucket from three-point-land in the final seconds.