NBA: Bam Adebayo’s big second half lifts Heat past shorthanded Spurs

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Feb 27 2022 02:29 PM

Bam Adebayo (13) of the Miami Heat dunks the ball during the third quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Six of the 2020 NBA Finals at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on October 11, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. File photo. Douglas P. DeFelice, Getty Images/AFP
Bam Adebayo (13) of the Miami Heat dunks the ball during the third quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Six of the 2020 NBA Finals at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on October 11, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. File photo. Douglas P. DeFelice, Getty Images/AFP

Bam Adebayo poured in 36 points, 26 of them in the second half, as the Miami Heat survived an early haymaker from the visiting, short-handed San Antonio Spurs and posted a 133-129 win on Saturday.

The game was the second of a back-to-back for both teams after the Spurs beat Washington in double overtime in the Nation's Capital and the Heat handled New York on the road on Friday.

The Heat rallied from 16 points down in the first quarter and led by a bucket heading to the fourth. Miami opened the final period with a 14-3 run keyed by Adebayo and Tyler Herro. 

The Spurs, playing without their top three scorers, clawed back to within two points before two free throws by Gabe Vincent with 6.7 seconds to play clinched the win.

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The loss left San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich one win shy of tying the league record for most coaching victories. Popovich has 1,333 wins, one short of Don Nelson.

Jimmy Butler and Herro added 27 points each, with Herro recording his 21st game with 20 or more points off the bench this season, tops in the league. Kyle Lowry recorded 13 points and 10 assists for Miami, which leads the Eastern Conference, has won three games in a row and eight of its past nine.

Devin Vassell, Lonnie Walker IV and Keita Bates-Diop led San Antonio with 22 points each. The Spurs played without Dejounte Murray (left knee contusion) and Keldon Johnson and Jakob Poeltl, both of whom were suffering from low back soreness.

San Antonio's makeshift roster picked up right where the team left off the night before, racking up 40 points in the first quarter as 10 players scored while shooting 66.7 percent and building a 12-point lead. Butler had 13 points in the period to keep the Heat close but the other four Miami starters had just three points over the first 12 minutes.

Miami flipped the script on the Spurs in the second quarter, forcing 11 turnovers and ending the period on a 9-0 run to take a 61-58 lead to the break.

Butler led all scorers in the half with 18 points while Herro added 12 and Adebayo had 10 for Miami. Vassell paced the Spurs with 13 points over the first 24 minutes.