By Ben Golliver and Rob Mahoney
Chris Bosh hit a game-winning three-pointer with 1.9 seconds remaining to give the Heat an 88-86 victory over the Spurs in San Antonio on Sunday night.
The only member of the Heat's Big Three to play against the Spurs on Sunday delivered his big three from the top of the key, after multiple defenders shadowed Ray Allen as he brought the ball up the court and pump-faked from the left angle. Tim Duncan attempted to recover to Bosh and contest the look but it was too late, as Miami's All-Star forward buried the shot, nothing but net. San Antonio was unable to score on its ensuing possession and the Heat escaped with a road win, even though LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers sat out with various minor injuries.
"We talked about it in the timeout, that there would be roughly 10 seconds and possibly change between the game clock [and shot clock] if we forced a miss, and to go for it," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Push it. That's typically what we do, and if we don't have something we like -- [if we] don't like the numbers -- then you can always call a timeout. Ray thought he saw something, Shane [Battier] and I 'put it away' -- we were the two guys that were going to call something if we didn't like it -- he saw an opportunity with a little bit of daylight, Chris came in on the trail and that was probably a better look than anything we could have diagrammed."
Playing out the string of the final seconds without detouring into a timeout definitely has its advantages, particularly against an opponent as well-coached as the Spurs.
"We were just going to go so they couldn't set their defense," Bosh said during an NBA TV interview, as he described the final play, which unfolded after the Heat got a defensive stop and elected not to call timeout. "We just went. I saw an opportunity to set a screen on Ray's guy early to confusing things. We had [Udonis Haslem] rolling to the basket. We put their defense in a tough situation and I just didn't want to hesitate when I caught the ball."
Bosh finished with a game-high 23 points (on 9-for-15 shooting), nine rebounds and three assists in 37 minutes.
Miami, the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed, improved to a league-best 58-15. San Antonio, the Western Conference's No. 1 seed, dropped to 55-18. The Heat lead the Spurs by three games in the race for the NBA's best record and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
Video via YouTube user NBA