|SPURS||DeJuan Blair 12.0||DeJuan Blair 8.0||Manu Ginobili 5.0|
|MIAMI||Chris Bosh 21.5||Udonis Haslem 11.0||LeBron James 6.0|
The San Antonio Spurs dropped their preseason opener 90-87 to the Houston Rockets last Thursday and will try to bounce back as they host the visiting Miami Heat who are coming off a 103-96 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Heat remained unbeaten after two preseason games with three of their key players (Lebron James, Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem) logging 23 minutes of more per contest.
All three players played great against the Thunder. James scored 22 points, handed out 8 assist with 7 boards, Bosh had 23 points and 7 rebounds while Haslem added 17 points and 9 boards.
Meanwhile, the Spurs used their first preseason game to gauge their camp hopefuls. They played their starters sparingly with the exception of Richard Jefferson (who logged a game high 30 minutes against Houston) and since the Spurs are planning to cut their roster down to 14, the decision on who to retain will be tougher. This means more minutes could be given to their camp invitees.
One notable player who didn’t play in the Spurs’ first preseason game is Alonzo Gee. With the team looking for a backup small forward, it will be interesting to see who will get more playing time. James Gist, Bobby Simmons and Gee should get more time at the small forward spot.
Marcus Cousin and DeJuan Blair both played great in the preseason opener which could mean lesser playing time for Tim Duncan and more importantly more rest. However, they will have their hands full against Miami Heat’s frontcourt tandem of Bosh and Haslem.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Offense — During the Rockets game, the Spurs got a boost from Blair and Cousin. Against the Heat expect more production from the Spurs’ backcourt especially if both George Hill and James Anderson bounce back from a bad game and Gary Neal and Kirk Penney continue to shoot the ball well.
Defense — Keep the Heat off the boards, and limiting James and Bosh on offense. Something easier said than done. The Spurs should also be wary of the Heat’s dribble penetrations as it leads to many assist leading to easy baskets. In two preseason games, the Heat are averaging 24.5 assist.
Offense — James and Bosh will provide the points as usual and Haslem has been the teams’ third leading scorer after two games. Mike Miller has been hitting his shots too.
Defense — If they can take away the Spurs’ inside game, they can focus on guarding the Spurs’ backcourt and outside shooters. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili played effective in limited minutes while Penney and Neal shot the ball fairly well during the teams first outing.
Tiago Splitter – strained right plantaris muscle.
Dwayne Wade – sprained ankle.
Another preseason game which means you can expect to see the camp hopefuls playing throughout the game.