Erik Spoelstra got a milestone win, and it didn’t come easily.
Jimmy Butler scored 29 points, Bam Adebayo scored 21 and the Miami Heat went on a 17-0 run in the second half before hanging on late to beat the San Antonio Spurs 116-111 on Wednesday night.
It was the 600th regular-season win for Spoelstra, making him the 27th coach in NBA history to win that many and just the sixth coach to do so with one franchise. He thanked Heat President Pat Riley and managing general partner Micky Arison for the opportunity.
“It is humbling,” Spoelstra said. “Obviously, I always think about Pat and Micky for having this incredible opportunity to be able to coach with this franchise. I feel a great responsibility to do it the right way for something they started and created.”
The Heat (33-30) remained No. 7 in the Eastern Conference, tied with No. 6 Boston (33-30) and now one game behind No. 5 Atlanta (34-29).
“I know if we win, that takes care of everything,” Butler said.
Adebayo added 11 rebounds for Miami, which got 18 points from three players — Kendrick Nunn, plus reserves Goran Dragic and Dewayne Dedmon. Dragic had seven assists, giving him 2,004 in his Miami career and tying him with two-time NBA champion Mario Chalmers for third-most in team history.
Dejounte Murray had 22 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists for the Spurs, who were without starting guard Derrick White, who is expected to miss the rest of the season with a sprained ankle. DeMar DeRozan scored 20 for the Spurs, who got 18 from Lonnie Walker IV, 14 from Keldon Johnson, 13 from Rudy Gay and 11 from Devin Vassell.
The Spurs remained No. 9 in the Western Conference race, squarely in the play-in mix.
“We’ve just got to continue to get closer, stronger and pull out some more wins,” Walker said.
San Antonio led by seven late in the third, but Miami scored the next 17 points — the last two coming to open the fourth — and finished off a two-game season sweep of the Spurs for only the fourth time.
“I love this group,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “They might go through a bad period for three or four or five minutes, but they keep playing. They don’t give in and we’re just trying to reduce mistakes, get more experience for some guys and it’s paying off slowly but surely.”
Spurs: Walker, who played for the University of Miami, had managed only 16 points in three previous games against the Heat — and just two in his lone game at Miami as a pro before Wednesday. … The Spurs fell to 18-11 on the road, tied with Denver for second-best in the NBA. Only Phoenix (20-9) is better away from home.
Heat: Victor Oladipo (knee) missed his 11th consecutive game and Tyler Herro (right foot soreness) missed his third in a row but is progressing, Spoelstra said. “As far as anything structurally (wrong), he’s clear on that,” Spoelstra said. … Miami gets two off days after a game for the first time since not playing on April 9 and 10. … Butler missed his lone 3-point try and is now 0 for his last 11 from beyond the arc.
Spoelstra joined a very small group with the milestone win. The only other coaches to win 600 games with one franchise: Popovich with the Spurs (1,308), Jerry Sloan with Utah (1,127), Red Auerbach with Boston (795), Red Holzman with New York (613) and Phil Jackson with the Los Angeles Lakers (610).
With White out, Vassell got his second start and Popovich said this would fast-track the rookie’s growth. “When he gets minutes, he’s played well,” Popovich said. “When he gets fewer minutes, I think the rookie part comes out where he’s probably more in a little bit of a hurry, probably presses a little bit. … In this situation, he will get more minutes and so I expect him to develop very well.”
Dedmon needed to change jerseys in the second quarter — not because of sweating, but because of spelling. Dedmon took the court in a jersey bearing the name “DEDMAN” on the back. A new jersey was retrieved, and when Dedmon returned it was in a top that had the correct spelling of his surname.
Spurs: Visit Boston on Friday.
Heat: Visit Cleveland on Saturday.
Spoelstra gets win No. 600, Heat top Spurs 116-111