The Miami Heat were short-handed, playing the second night of a back-to-back and playing against the most hyped prospect in decades in San Antonio Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama.
Miami had every excuse to lose but they had more grit to win.
Duncan Robinson scored 26 points, Bam Adebayo added 24 points and 11 rebounds, and the Miami Heat rallied in the final quarter to beat the San Antonio Spurs 118-113 on Sunday night for their fifth straight win.
“Pushing back from a 19-point deficit on the second night of a back-to-back just shows our grit, shows our dedication, perseverance,” Adebayo said. “It shows our will to win.”
Robinson and Adebayo combined for 20 points in the final quarter as Miami won its fourth straight in San Antonio. Jimmy Butler added 19 points as the Heat overcame a 19-point deficit.
Keldon Johnson had 20 points and 12 rebounds and Victor Wembanyama added 18 points and 11 rebounds in the Spurs’ fifth straight loss.
Josh Richardson had 12 points, including six in the final two minutes, in his return to San Antonio after being traded to Miami in February.
The Heat had runs of 17-0, 18-5 and 12-0 to rally from multiple double-digit deficits against the Spurs.
“It was our first character game of the year,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Where you have to show something to be able to overcome that kind of deficit. To do it on the road, I think it’s a good win and good step. Hopefully we can build off that.”
With Tyler Herro missing the game with a sprained right ankle, the Heat opted to sit Kyle Lowry to rest on the second night of a back-to-back.
Miami had a slow start coming off a 117-109 win in Atlanta on Saturday.
The Heat were held to 15 points in the opening quarter, the lowest by a Spurs opponent in the period.
Wembanyama’s one-handed slam on a feed off a loose ball from McDermott gave the Spurs a 27-13 lead in the final minute of the first quarter.
Wembanyama finished 8 for 12 from the field, including 2 for 9 on 3-pointers, and had seven assists.
“People are putting a lot of expectations on that kid,” Adebayo said. “He’s a rookie. I was talking to (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich), and I was just saying he don’t even really know his routine right now. So, for everybody to be putting those expectations on him, he’s living up to those expectations. He’s trying to get the job done. He’s starting to figure it out.”
Trailing by 19 points early in the second quarter, the Heat rallied to forge a tie at 47-47. San Antonio would regain a double-digit lead in the third quarter only to have Miami take its first lead since the game’s opening basket on a pair of free throws by Kevin Love at 75-74.
The Heat did not commit a turnover in the final quarter while San Antonio had six turnovers in the period.
“It adds up,” Popovich said. ”(But) they are getting smarter each game.”
Miami: At Charlotte on Tuesday.
Spurs: At Oklahoma City on Tuesday.