Tim Duncan got a small dose of revenge for last season's heartbreaking loss to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, scoring 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds to lead his San Antonio Spurs to a 111-87 home victory.
The veteran big man headed a list of four Spurs players in double figures Thursday night at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. That group also included point guard Tony Parker, who scored 14 of his 17 points in the first half as San Antonio built a double-digit lead.
Power forward Boris Diaw pitched in with 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists, and small forward Kawhi Leonard scored 11 points, grabbed five rebounds and recorded five steals.
The Spurs' defense was the big story, holding Miami's potent offense to just 43 percent shooting from the field.
San Antonio also won the rebounding battle by a margin of 45-36.
The Heat's LeBron James had his second consecutive sub-par game after scoring 61 points Monday against the Charlotte Bobcats.
Against the Spurs, the four-time league MVP scored just 19 points on an uncharacteristically inefficient 6-of-18 shooting from the field. James, who struggled against the determined defense of Leonard, also hauled down eight rebounds and dished out seven assists.
Chris Bosh kept Miami within striking distance of the Spurs with a hot shooting night, scoring 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting, while star guard Dwyane Wade added 16.
The Heat battled back and trailed just 82-74 after three quarters, but a suffocating Spurs' defense allowed Miami just 11 points over the final 12 minutes as the game turned into a rout.
It was the Spurs' first home game against the Heat since coming tantalizingly close to winning the NBA Finals last year. Miami rallied to win Game 6 of that series thanks to a game-tying 3-pointer by veteran guard Ray Allen in the waning seconds and then won a tight Game 7.
San Antonio improved to 45-16 and is now just a half-game behind the first-place Oklahoma City Thunder, who lost 128-122 Thursday night to the Phoenix Suns, in the Western Conference standings.
The Heat fell to 43-16 and are now two games behind the Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Pacers, who were idle.
In one other game Thursday night, the Los Angeles Clippers embarrassed their crosstown rivals, the L.A. Lakers, by the score of 142-94. EFE