Preseason Running Diary: Spurs fall to LeBron-less Heat


After their epic NBA Finals battle back in June, the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat met once again on Saturday as the Heat defeated the Spurs without MVP LeBron James 121-96.

Though it was just another preseason game, I decided to record a running diary (made famous by Grantland’s Bill Simmons). Even though the score was never really close, there were still some notable plays from several Spurs players.

Before the game: The Heat broadcast broke down the Finals ending. One particular stat that won’t make most Spurs fans thrilled Tony Parker didn’t take the summer off from playing basketball showed that Mario Chalmers outscored Parker 17 points per game to 14.5 points per game in Game 6 and 7 combined.

Before the game: several visuals of the yellow rope……..

First Quarter (1Q): Seems former Spur Roger Mason Jr. is starting in place of the absent James. The Spurs turned the ball over on their first possession, which resulted in a 3-on-1 fast break that ended with a Udonis Haslem dunk. Heat 2-0

1Q: Kawhi Leonard has Dwayne Wade defending him; he quickly dribbles to the left and sinks a 20-foot jumper. Tied 2-2

1Q: Fans are chanting early “LET’S GO EAT!”

1Q: With James sitting out tonight, Tiago Splitter was able to attack the rim and draw a foul, LeBron couldn’t block him.

1Q: Spurs’ defense is playing assort 1-3-1 zone on defense. The result is two straight outside buckets for Miami.

1Q: Another Parker turnover, which results in a Wade dunk in the open court.

1Q: Wade with a behind-the-back pass to Chris Bosh for three. The Spurs are down 12-4 early. Camera showed Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich definitely not smiling.

1Q: Wade makes a fade-away jumper with Leonard guarding him and the Heat took a 10-point lead.

1Q: Leonard with the steal and spin move for the layup in the open court. Heat 14-6. Leonard has 4 points.

1Q: Leonard is again aggressive, as he caught the ball at the top, took a few dribbles and then sunk another jumper. Heat 17-8. Leonard has 6 of the Spurs’ 8 points.

1Q: Danny Green drives in and draws in the defense, he then finds Leonard open on the 3-point line. Leonard made the three. Heat 17-11, Leonard has 9 points.

1Q: Broadcast just said the referees are going to put an emphasis on delay of game calls this coming season, specifically, when players touch the ball after it goes in and on clapping each others hands during free throws.

1Q: A give-and-go sequence between Leonard and Duncan. Duncan feeds the ball back to Leonard for the open dunk. Leonard has 11 points. Heat 23-13.

1Q: Manu Ginobili feeds Aron Baynes underneath, Baynes is doubled and finds Leonard for an open 14-foot jumper which Leonard drains. Leonard has 13 points. Heat 24-15.

1Q: Ginobili starts and ends a play, runs baseline to baseline and feeds Kawhi. Kawhi then draws in Manu’s defender and gives the ball back to Manu for an open 3-pointer, which he makes. Heat 26-18

1Q: The broadcast just showed that Splitter only averaged 4.9 points per game in the Finals. The next month Splitter would be signed to a 4-year, $36 million dollar contract.

1Q: Baynes is fed deep under the basket by Manu. He makes a jump hook over the human coloring book Chris Andersen. Heat 27-20.

1Q: Boris Diaw knocks down the open 15-foot jumper from the sideline. The Spurs want him to be more aggressive on the offensive end in this coming season. Heat 32-22.

1Q: The first quarter ended with the Heat leading the Spurs 32-22. Leonard scored 13 of San Antonio’s 22 first quarter points.

Second Quarter (2Q): Baynes with the jumper off a Manu pass. Heat 34-24.

2Q: Michael “Supercool Beas” Beasley has entered the game for Miami. Diaw tried a floater and it’s short, Baynes however caught the ball and dunked it for an unintentional alley-hoop. Heat 34-26.

2Q: The announcer just called Gary Neal a “backup small forward” when he was with San Antonio.

2Q: Baynes with a rebound on the offensive glass. He then fed the ball to Cory Joseph who found an open Marco Belinelli for a 3-pointer. Belinelli made the three and the Heat led 40-29. Belinelli scored his first three points.

2Q: The Spurs are running a lineup with Nando De Colo as the shooting guard and Belineli as the small forward. De Colo played the two-guard position in the Las Vegas Summer league while the Spurs are hoping Belinelli can play spot minutes at the backup small forward position after the release of Corey Maggette.

2Q: Diaw grabs an offensive rebound and is swarmed by four Heat defenders. He then finds Belinelli for another open three pointer. Belinelli has 6 points. Heat 42-32.

2Q: Diaw to Duncan to a cutting Belinelli for an open layup. Belinelli has 8 points. Heat 44-34.

2Q: Another play where multiple Spurs touch the ball. Joseph passed to Belinelli who throws to a cutting Duncan for a layup. Heat 44-36.

2Q: The broadcast just showed Game 6 highlights………..

2Q: Diaw in the post finds a cutting Belinelli for the left-handed layup. Belinelli has 10 points. Heat 47-38.

2Q: Wade just performed a perfect Euro-step as he got around Duncan for the open right handed layup on the left-hand side. Heat 49-38.

2Q: That’s now two turnovers in the second quarter from Belinelli. His first came when he was trying to the throw the ball to Parker but Parker wasn’t in place. His second was when he tried to convert a jumper into a cross-court pass. Though he has 10 points in the quarter, the turnovers are a sign Belinelli will need time to grow and develop chemistry with his new teammates. Heat 58-42.

2Q: Leonard draws a double-team underneath the basket and feeds Green for the open corner three which Green makes. Heat 58-45.

2Q: Leonard goes into the post and backs down Wade. He’s fouled and goes to the free throw line. Kawhi makes both of his free throws for 15 points. Leonard had been struggling recently from the free throw line in his previous preseason games. Heat 58-47.

2Q: Leonard is shooting more free throws and knocks them both down. He scored his 17th and final point with the last free throw. Heat 64-50.

Half: The Heat led the Spurs 66-52. The good news for the Spurs’ offense was they scored 30 points in the second quarter. The bad news was they gave up 34 points.  Belinelli scored all of his 10 points in the second quarter.

Third Quarter (3Q): The third quarter begins with a lineup of Parker, Belinelli, Diaw, Jeff Ayers, and Duncan.

3Q: Diaw drives in and finds Ayers for the pick-and-pop jumper. Ayers has shown early in the preseason that that’s been a consistent shot for him. Even General Manager R.C. Buford said that was one of Ayers’ traits back in the summer when the Spurs signed him. Heat 70-54.

3Q: Duncan throws a Peyton Manning full court pass to Diaw who then finds an open Belinelli for a made 3-pointer. Belinelli has 13 points. Heat 76-57.

3Q: Just noting: Chris Bosh has made several jumpers over Ayers from the outside. One would think that since Ayers runs a bit faster than Splitter and Baynes he’d be able to close out quicker on Bosh. Heat 83-57.

3Q: Belinelli draws the shooting fouls and makes both of his free throws. He has 15 points in the match behind Leonard. Heat 83-59.

3Q: Patty Mills, Ginobili, and Splitter enter the game for Belinelli, Parker, and Duncan. On Splitter’s first play, he threw up a missed turn around jump hook. Heat 86-59.

3Q: Hey what do you know? A Splitter two-handed dunk and foul. Manu found Splitter deep underneath for the successful dunk, Heat 91-62.

3Q: Splitter tried to throw a no-look pass to Mills in the corner; instead it went straight into Mario Chalmers’ arms. Heat 91-62.

3Q: Diaw finds Ayers ‘snowbirding’ underneath the basket. Ayers draws the contact from two Heat defenders for two made free throws. Heat 93-67.

3Q: Manu draws two defenders up top and slips a pass to Splitter for a successful Splitter jump-hook. Manu’s pass looked like it had a sort of bowling spin to it. Heat 98-71.

3Q: The Spurs pushed the tempo on the inbounds and the result was a Manu 3-pointer in full motion. Heat 98-76.

3Q: The broadcasters said at the Spurs’ coaches retreat, it took Popovich and his staff 7 hours to watch Game 6’s footage.

3Q: Manu draws more contact attacking and makes two free throws. Manu was then in transition and drained a three in motion. He has 13 points. Heat 99-82.

3Q: James Jones made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the third quarter with a 102-82 lead. Miami had their highest scoring output with 36 points in the third quarter while San Antonio ended with 30 points in the quarter.

Fourth quarter (4Q): The fourth quarter begins with a lineup of Mills, De Colo, Green, Ayers, and Splitter. You get the sense the coaching staff is looking to see how Ayers plays with Splitter. De Colo is also getting another run at the shooting guard position.

4Q: The broadcasters were just talking about how Kawhi never changes his facial expressions. It’s just one of his more noticeable qualities.

4Q: Matt Bonner having to defend Beasley just isn’t fair. Beasley drives past Bonner for the left-handed layup. Heat 107-85.

4Q: Interesting story from the broadcast, Heat forward Shane Battier views Spurs shooting coach Chip Engelland as a major influence in his basketball career because when Battier was still at Duke in college, he met Engelland and Engelland broke down his shooting form. Since then Battier said he had always shot 40% or more from beyond 3-point range. After the Spurs lost to the Heat in the Finals, Battier felt really bad for Engelland because Engelland was on the losing side.

4Q: Belinelli takes the ball up the floor and throws a pass to De Colo. De Colo then throws a pass underneath to Baynes who is wide open for a two-handed slam dunk. Heat 109-89.

4Q: The broadcast just showed footage of a Heat player named Eric Griffin who recently jumped over a Brooklyn Nets player in a preseason game.

4Q: Matt Bonner takes a few dribbles inside and finds an open De Colo for a corner 3-pointer. Beasley then scored once again on Bonner. Heat 113-92.

4Q: Belinelli finds Mills open in the corner for a 3-pointer. Mills misses his third straight 3-pointer. Mills didn’t do a lot in helping himself in the battle for backup point guard duties with Joseph. Heat 115-92.

4Q: With less than three minutes remaining the Spurs put in training camp invite Dan Nwaelele as they were down 115-92. Miami would outscore San Antonio 19-14 in the final quarter to win the game by 25 points.

With the loss the Spurs are now 2-3 in the preseason. They’ll host the Orlando Magic on Tuesday at the AT&T Center. 

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Paul is an editor, writer and content manager for (@ProjectSpurs) and (@ATLeague_NBA). Paul is also the host of the Spurscast (@TheSpurscast). Paul has been a credentialed media member covering the San Antonio Spurs and NBA since 2011. Paul has been featured on numerous radio, tv, online and podcast shows.