Even if that doesn’t happen, he finally knows what it’s like to beat San Antonio.
Whiteside had 29 points, 20 rebounds and an NBA season-high nine blocked shots – he thinks it was 10, and some of his teammates and coaches feel the same way. That was all the Miami Heat had to fret about Wednesday night, after they snapped a four-year drought against San Antonio by beating the Spurs, 95-88.
”It would have been pretty cool for him to get that triple-double,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ”But the context of his winning plays had nothing to do with the stat line. When he brings that kind of intensity, competitiveness, the defensive efforts … we’re clearly a different team.”
Spoelstra’s postgame news conference was interrupted by a crasher – Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who burst through a side door.
”That’s baloney. Everything he just said is pure crap,” Popovich said, before jumping on to the platform where Spoelstra was and giving the Heat coach a hug.
The coaches laughed, and Popovich then said ”Go to hell” before walking out.
So, everyone left happy.
Whiteside just left happier than most, even without his triple-double.
”Whoever’s got to review it, review it,” Whiteside said.
Many numbers were without dispute: the Spurs shot 33 percent, their lowest in a regular-season game since 2008, and connected on only 29 percent of their 2-point tries.
”We all have nights like these,” said San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge, who had six points on 2-for-14 shooting. ”Hopefully they’re few and far between.”
Wayne Ellington scored 20 points and Justise Winslow added 16 for the Heat, who had dropped their last nine regular-season games to the Spurs – and 11 consecutive games overall going back to the 2014 NBA Finals.
”We’ve got a lot of guys who are capable,” Ellington said. ”Tonight was my night to get out there and be able to contribute.”
Josh Richardson added 14 points for the Heat, who were down to an eight-man rotation for the second half because of injuries and Dwyane Wade missing the game for personal reasons.
Patty Mills scored 20 off the bench for San Antonio. Davis Bertans scored 19 and DeMar DeRozan added 18 for the Spurs, who had a 50-12 edge in bench scoring.
The Spurs were down 19 in the fourth before rallying. Bryn Forbes had a chance to get San Antonio within two with about 30 seconds left, but his 3-pointer missed, Whiteside grabbed his 20th rebound and the Heat escaped.
Whiteside had played against the Spurs five times previously, and the Heat lost all of them. He’s now been part of at least one win against 29 NBA clubs – with Miami the lone exception.
”I hope I never beat them,” Whiteside said.
Spurs: Derrick White (heel) made his season debut, started and was scoreless in 16 minutes … Down 15-4, the Spurs subbed all five starters out simultaneously just 4:22 into the game … San Antonio’s 42 first-half points were a season low.
Heat: Richardson missed his first eight shots and finished 6-for-22 … Ellington started and played 37 minutes after logging only 12 minutes in two appearances so far this season. He missed the start of the season with ankle soreness.
The Spurs led only twice, at 2-0 and 4-2. Miami had a 15-0 run in the opening minutes to take the lead, the biggest stretch of consecutive points against San Antonio so far this season.
Besides Wade, Miami was also without point guard Goran Dragic (right-knee inflammation), Dion Waiters and James Johnson (recovering from surgeries), and Derrick Jones Jr was ruled out at halftime with a bruised right knee. The Spurs were without Rudy Gay (right-heel soreness), Pau Gasol (right-foot soreness) and former Miami Hurricane standout Lonnie Walker IV (recovering from knee surgery).
EIGHT WAS ENOUGH
Whiteside had eight blocked shots in the first half. That was a Heat record for any half; the previous first-half mark was seven by Alonzo Mourning in 1999, and the second-half mark is seven by Whiteside – twice, most recently in 2016.
Spurs: Host Houston on Saturday.
Heat: Host Indiana Friday.
First appeared on NBA.com Global
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