Trailing by 14 at halftime against the visiting San Antonio Spurs, the Miami Heat looked well on their way to extending their losing streak to four games. Instead, they opened the second half with an absolutely dominating third quarter, maintaining their intensity in the fourth for a surprising 120-98 win.
LeBron James led the way with 33 points and 10 assists, while Chris Bosh scored 30 with eight rebounds. The Heat were missing Dwyane Wade, sidelined with a sprained ankle suffered last weekend, but Mike Miller helped pick up the slack off the bench with 18 points, shooting a perfect 6-for-6 from behind the arc.
The Heat came out of halftime a completely different team, obliterating San Antonio's first-half lead with a 39-12 third quarter. Miami dominated on both ends of the court, making 15 of 20 shots (75 percent) while holding San Antonio to just 4 of 19 (21.1 percent).
In fact, James outscored the entire Spurs' roster in the quarter with 17 points. He didn't score again the rest of the game, but he didn't have to. Miller came alive in the final quarter with 15 points, nailing all five of his three-point attempts to help the Heat to a 32-23 advantage.
The always candid Gregg Popovich didn't hold back when assessing his team's performance after the game:
Popovich: "They out-physical-ed us and beat our ass ... We should be embarrassed by that—playing that soft. Anybody else got a question?"— Jared Wade (@Jared_Wade) January 18, 2012
After combining to score 44 points in the first half, San Antonio's starters were held to just seven after halftime, with no one scoring more than two. Tony Parker finished the game with 18 points and three assists in 25 minutes, while Tim Duncan managed just eight points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes. Danny Green led all scorers for the Spurs with 20 points off the bench.
The Heat improved to 9-4 with the win, sitting a game back in the Southeast Division. The Spurs dropped to 9-5 and still sit alone atop the Southwest. MIami hosts the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday while the Spurs play again on Wednesday in Orlando.