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Heat dominate 2nd half, roll past Spurs 120-98

Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) wipes his face during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James scored 33 points, Chris Bosh added 30 and the Miami Heat used a historic third-quarter turnaround to erase a big deficit and beat the San Antonio Spurs 120-98 on Tuesday night, snapping a three-game slide.

Miami outscored San Antonio 39-12 in the third quarter — the second-largest differential for any quarter in Heat history, and the second-worst differential for a period in Spurs history. The Heat trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half, 52-35 late in the second quarter.

Mike Miller made his season debut and shot 6 for 6 on 3-pointers, finishing with 18 points and tying his career-high for makes from beyond the arc. And the Heat did it all without Dwyane Wade, sitting out on his 30th birthday because of a sprained right ankle.

“I couldn’t let my boy down on his birthday,” James said.

Danny Green scored 20 points for the Spurs, who got 18 from Tony Parker, 13 from DeJuan Blair and 12 from Kawhi Leonard and Gary Neal.

Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) shoots over San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard (2) and DeJuan Blair (45) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The Heat are now 4-0 without Wade this season, 8-1 since early last season without the 2006 NBA finals MVP. And unquestionably, this was the most improbable of those victories.

James was 7 for 9 in the third quarter. The Spurs — combined — were 4 for 19. James hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to put Miami up 72-68, and the Heat simply never stopped rolling from there.

The comeback from down 17 matched the NBA’s fifth-largest this season. Miami outscored San Antonio 71-35 after halftime.

Before the game, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich summed his team’s all-or-nothing record — 9-0 at home, 0-4 on the road entering Tuesday — with his usual dry wit. “We’re really good at home and on the road, we (stink). That’s the biggest difference,” Popovich said.

He was half-serious, and it certainly didn’t apply to the way the Spurs started Tuesday.

San Antonio made 12 of its first 15 shots, with eight of those makes coming from no more than 11 feet and most of them directly at the rim. James was terrible at the start, missing everything from layups to free throws, and the Spurs led 35-26 after the opening quarter.

They had Green to thank for that margin. Green took an inbounds pass with less than 2 seconds to go, set his feet and connected from the top of the key for a 3-pointer that beat the buzzer and left James shaking his head nearby.

James had the same reaction at the end of the half, and that time, Green wasn’t even anywhere near the 3-point line. James had just connected on a 3-pointer to get the Heat within 11, but Green let a desperation heave fly from near midcourt that swished — sending the building into silence and the Spurs into the locker room up 63-49.

Everything was going San Antonio’s way.

And then, well, nothing went the Spurs’ way.


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