San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Miami

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2014

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 26: Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat boxes out Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs during a game  at American Airlines Arena on January 26, 2014 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice:  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Miami Heat (32-12) dominated the San Antonio Spurs (33-11), winning by a final score of 113-101 behind a red-hot shooting performance on Sunday afternoon.

Chris Bosh was particularly impressive, scoring 24 points on 9-of-10 shooting. LeBron James scored 18 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished six assists. And the starting backcourt of Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen combined for 26 points. 

The Spurs were able to stay close in the first half thanks to a scoring outburst from Tim Duncan (who finished with 23), but Miami pulled away in the third.

As a team, the Heat definitely deserves an A, and several individual players contributed to the high mark.


Key Player Grades

LeBron James, Power Forward/Small Forward

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 26: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on against the San Antonio Spurs at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida on Jan. 26, 2014. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this
Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

It's amazing that LeBron can post a line like the one he did and be completely overshadowed. What's pedestrian for him is a fantastic all-around performance for almost any other wing in the league.

But even while playing just 28 minutes in a game dominated by Chris Bosh, LeBron still managed to steal the show for a couple highlight plays.

If Miami can continue to play in a manner that allows them to win without having LeBron overexert himself, it bodes well for the future playoff run.

They have the talent to play like this, but the ancillary pieces of the rotation often come out flat. When everyone's engaged, this is a team that may be impossible to beat in a seven-game series.

Grade: A


Chris Bosh, Center/Power Forward

Bosh has been on fire lately, looking like the power forward who consistently torched the Eastern Conference as a member of the Raptors.

In just 26 minutes, Bosh went 9-of-10 from the field for 24 points. And he was scoring from everywhere—around the rim, at the three-point line and from his comfort zone in the mid-range.

If he can remain at least close to this level through the playoffs, the Heat should instantly be favorites again. Teams with great post presences like Indiana will be forced to spread their defense out to cover the stretch 5. 

LeBron commented on his ability to do so in an interview with ESPN's Doris Burke after the game, "He's giving us a lot of space. His ability to shoot the ball brings out, most of the time, the best defensive player on the other team, and a bigger guy." 

Grade: A+


Ray Allen, Shooting Guard

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 26: Ray Allen #34 of the Miami Heat drives past Cory Joseph #5 of the San Antonio Spurs during a game  at American Airlines Arena on January 26, 2014 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by down
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Despite Dwyane Wade returning after four straight games resting his knees, Allen got the start at shooting guard.

As he's done in pretty much every game since Miami acquired him, Allen calmly and coolly carried out his role—moving without the ball, spacing the floor and knocking down open shots.

He finished with 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting, including 2-of-3 from three-point range.

Grade: B


Mario Chalmers, Point Guard

Behind all the hoopla and attention the "Big Three" has received over the last few years, Chalmers has developed into a very solid point guard and would likely put up much bigger numbers in a different situation.

Like Allen, he's willing to accept a limited role without outwardly demanding anything more. When LeBron keys the offense, Chalmers is comfortable operating off the ball and acting as more of a scoring guard. He did so against San Antonio as he scored 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting.

He can pilot the offense himself as well, as evidenced by the seven assists he collected against Tony Parker.

Grade: A


Shane Battier, Small Forward/Power Forward

Because there's so much depth and firepower in Miami, there's often one or two guys who completely fade into the background during games.

It was Shane Battier in this one. He played 19 minutes and went 0-of-1 from the field.

Grade: C-


Dwyane Wade, Shooting Guard

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 26: Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat posts up Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs during a game  at American Airlines Arena on January 26, 2014 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by dow
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Wade logged 24 minutes after returning from his four-game stint on the bench resting his knees.

He didn't make much of a statistical impact, as he only scored eight points on 3-of-8 shooting, but Wade was moving fairly well. That's obviously a good sign, as relying on just Bosh and James could prove unsuccessful in a physical playoff series.

Grade: C



Miami's bench got some extended burn as the entire fourth quarter wound up being garbage time. Michael Beasley scored 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting and Norris Cole scored 11.

Overall, the reserves scored 45 points, compared to 34 from San Antonio's bench.

The story in this one though, was Greg Oden. He played a season-high 13 minutes, and once again looked good physically throughout. His only bucket of the night was a dunk over Tim Duncan in the first half.

Grade: B+


What's Next?

The Heat will take on another top-tier Western Conference opponent on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET when they play the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Back-to-back wins against two of the league's best teams would certainly quiet some of the critics who came out of hiding when Miami lost three straight at the beginning of the month.


For 140-character pearls of wisdom from Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey, follow him on Twitter: @AndrewDBailey.


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