Spurs get physical to hurt heat

Aggressive San Antonio earn rare home win over Miami, who lose fifth on the bounce

SAN ANTONIO (Texas) • Kawhi Leonard finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs won their second straight game at home with a 94-90 victory over the Miami Heat.

Leonard had five points in a key stretch in the fourth quarter as the Spurs sent the Heat to their fifth consecutive loss in front of a crowd of 18,400 on Monday.

The Spurs led 86-81 with 2min 22sec to play after seven consecutive points in a 11/2-minute span by the Heat's Dion Waiters.

But Leonard hit a free throw, reserve guard Patty Mills added two more, and forward LaMarcus Aldridge grabbed a key offensive rebound to power the Spurs to a rare home victory.

The Spurs have struggled uncharacteristically at the AT&T Centre this year, losing their first three home games this month.

"Miami are a team who play physical - that's their style," Spurs centre Pau Gasol said. "You have to play through contact. You have to know who you're playing against and adapt and match their aggressiveness and try to hurt them with execution. They did their job and we did ours, and we won."

Aldridge added 18 points and Gasol chalked up 12 for San Antonio, who still committed a season-high 17 turnovers. Guard Tony Parker posted 11 points and Mills added 10 as the Spurs improved to 8-3 for the season.

"We lost focus in the third quarter with eight turnovers - their pressure was good and we didn't react to it very well," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

"We tried to dribble too much, the ball didn't move around, and Miami got back in the game."

The struggling Heat dropped to 2-7. They were led by Waiters' 27 points while centre Hassan Whiteside had 23 points and 17 rebounds. Guard Tyler Johnson scored 11.

"I'm just trying to be aggressive, just trying to lead out there and pick up the energy," Waiters said.

"We were right there, but we just couldn't find ways at the end.

"We're making mental mistakes that we can't afford from a young team."

Miami again played without point guard Goran Dragic, who has missed the past two games after spraining his ankle on Oct 10 against the Chicago Bulls.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2016, with the headline 'Spurs get physical to hurt heat'. Print Edition | Subscribe