Heat 104, Spurs 101: Green has big shooting day

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Starters Danny Green and Tim Duncan led the Spurs’ offense in a 104-101 preseason loss to the Heat on Saturday afternoon in Miami.

Green was 5-of-8 on 3-pointers and 6-of-10 from the field for a team-high 17 points.

Duncan sat out the fourth quarter after recording 15 points and 6 rebounds in 16 minutes. Gary Neal had 12 points off the bench.

Rashard Lewis led the Heat with 15 points off the bench. Dwyane Wade had 13 points.

The Heat outscored the Spurs 27-16 in the fourth quarter with mostly subs on the floor for both teams.

Fourth quarter: The Spurs lead 97-95 with 2:33 left in the game. For the Spurs it’s Cory Joseph, Nando De Colo, Danny Green, Josh Powell and DeJuan Blair. For the Heat it’s Garrett Temple, Terrel Harris, Mickell Gladness, Rodney Carney and Josh Harrellson.

Jeff McDonald @JMcDonald_SAEN Josh Powell was 9-of-10 for the preseason before today’s game. This is called “regression to the mean.”

Matt Bonner, Derrick Brown and Patty Mills haven’t played today for the Spurs. Mills has been out with an injury.

It’s not a good shooting day for either Manu or Mini-Manu. Ginobili is 1-of-7 from the field. Nando De Colo is 1-of-4.

Danny Green and four subs are on the floor with 7:18 left and the Spurs leading 93-91. Gary Neal is also out there and has 12 points.

Jeff McDonald @JMcDonald_SAEN DeJuan Blair makes his first appearance of the game with 8:07 remaining.

Both teams are heading into the stretch with all their starters on the bench. We’ll get to see how some young guys and bench players perform under pressure. Even though it’s preseason, it really is pressure for the guys trying to make a team.

Danny Green is the only Spurs starter on the floor at the beginning of the fourth quarter. It’s Gary Neal, Green, Manu Ginobili, Stephen Jackson and Joseph Powell — basically three guards, a small forward and a power forward.

Jeff McDonald @JMcDonald_SAEN Nice quarter for Spurs. Behind Duncan’s 11-point quarter, they take an 85-77 lead into final frame.

Spurs 85, Heat 77 – third quarter: Tim Duncan looking steady with 15 points and 6 rebounds in 16 minutes. Gary Neal has 12 points. The Spurs had a 12-0 run in the quarter.

Dan McCarney @danmccarneysaen Gary Neal briefly considers diving for the loose ball. Screw it, it’s the preseason.

Danny Green is 6-of-9 from the field and 5-of-7 on 3-pointers for 17 points. The Spurs lead the Heat 84-74 with 2:57 left in the third quarter.

The Heat’s main guys – not including LeBron James, who is sitting today – are getting a lot of playing time. They have their five starters on the floor together with four minutes left in the third quarter.

The Spurs aren’t using as many crazy combinations as they did the first couple of playoff games, but coach Gregg Popovich is still taking a good look at a few young guys and getting his bench guys playing time.

Jeff McDonald @JMcDonald_SAEN Josh Powell at the table to check in. Interesting no Derrick Brown yet, even tho Pop singled him out pregame as a candidate for 15th spot.

Jeff McDonald @JMcDonald_SAEN Tim Duncan just took a turnover coast-to-coast for and-1. Spoelstra might want to have a talk with his guys about transition defense.

Jeff McDonald @JMcDonald_SAEN After starting the preseason 1 of 10 for 3, Green has made 8 of 12 in last two games. #streakshooter

Jeff McDonald @JMcDonald_SAEN Danny Green is 5-for-7 from 3 today. That’s almost Mike Miller-esque.

Danny Green has five 3-pointers. The Spurs still haven’t slowed down the Heat. It’s 72-72 with 6:39 left in the third quarter.

Nando De Colo starts the second half in place of Tony Parker. It’s De Colo, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Boris Diaw and Tim Duncan.

Heat 62, Spurs 57 – halftime: Both teams are lighting it up. The Heat are 6-of-13 on 3-pointers. Danny Green hit his second 3-pointer for the Spurs late in the half. He has 8 points. Gary Neal, Tiago Splitter and Eddy Curry lead the Spurs with 9 points each off the bench. Dwyane Wade has 13 points for the Heat and Mike Miller has 12.

Jeff McDonald @JMcDonald_SAEN Offensively, Spurs’ execution and ball movement is still a thing of beauty. Giving up 62 points and 57-percent shooting not so much.

Dan McCarney @danmccarneysaen 62 pts on 57% prolly wasn’t what Pop had in mind when he called for better defense at media day.

Dan McCarney @danmccarneysaen Who’s got the best slide dribble, Manu or D-Wade? Tough call.

Dan McCarney @danmccarneysaen Miller, Allen, Neal…got some textbook perfect strokes in this here game today.

Tiago Splitter got off to a good start at the offensive end. He made his first four shots. The Heat lead the Spurs 49-40 with 4:51 left in the second quarter.

Every acted like Mike Miller would retire after Heat won the title. He can still hit 3-pointers. He’s 4-of-4 so far today.

Dan McCarney @danmccarneysaen Pittman does look pretty good. I can see why they let Curry go. They’ve already got their Reformed Fat Guy position covered.

Gary Neal looks like the old shooting guard Gary Neal. He hit 3 of 4 shots and leads the Spurs with 9 points off the bench.

Jeff McDonald @JMcDonald_SAEN A Tiago Splitter sighting! He’s got 8 straight points for the Spurs, dating to end of 1Q. Being the roll man for Manu looks like fun.

Heat 30, Spurs 26 – first quarter: Dwyane Wade scored 11 points in a quarter that saw both teams shoot well. The Spurs hit 52 percent from the field and Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard both made early 3-pointers.

Tim Duncan and Tony Parker were the last two Spurs starters to sub out. They both played more than eight minutes to start the game. Duncan had 4 points and 4 rebounds. Parker had 3 assists.

Jeff McDonald @JMcDonald_SAEN Miami’s small lineup allows Spurs to go small too: Parker, Neal, Manu, Jack, Duncan.

Young guns Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard each hit an early 3-pointer. They scored five points each in the first six minutes of the game before going to the bench. The Spurs lead the Heat 18-14 with 5:02 left in the first quarter.

Gary Neal and Stephen Jackson are the second and third players off the Spurs’ bench. Gary Neal and Tony Parker are on the floor together, rather than Neal replacing Parker at point.

Manu Ginobili is the first player off the Spurs’ bench. He enters the game at the 6:52 mark of the first quarter. He replaces Danny Green.

Jeff McDonald @JMcDonald_SAEN Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard have combined for Spurs’ first 10 points. What shooting slump(s)?

Today’s game between the Spurs and Heat is underway. Danny Green hits a long jump shot followed by a 3-pointer for the first points of the game.

Spurs starters: Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Boris Diaw and Tim Duncan. For the Heat – no LeBron James today.

Jeff McDonald reports the Spurs go with their usual starting lineup today: Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan and Boris Diaw.

The Heat announced that LeBron James, Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem will not play.

The Spurs play on the road today at 2:30 p.m. (Central) against the Miami Heat.

Join Jeff McDonald and Dan McCarney for a pregame chat (below) from 2 p.m. to 2:35 p.m.

Follow along here for updates throughout the game.

You can also follow the Spurs Nation staff on twitter all season long:
Jeff McDonald at
Dan McCarney at
and Mike Monroe at

Don’t tell rookie Denmon the odds

LAS VEGAS — Even before he arrived at Summer League, Spurs guard Marcus Denmon knew what he was up against.

The team already has 14 players under contract for the 2012-13 season. The league maximum is 15.

A general studies major at Missouri, Denmon is a good enough mathematician to realize the odds of making the Spurs’ final roster are not in his favor.

“Every time you go out and compete, you’re playing for a job,” said Denmon, the lone member of the Spurs’ 2012 draft class, selected 59th overall.

A scoring star at Missouri, where his 17.7 points per game as a senior ranked second in the Big 12, Denmon hasn’t had much of a chance to make an impression so far in Las Vegas.

In three games, he has averaged 5.7 points and 2.3 assists while shooting 37.5 percent, including 1 of 6 from 3-point range.

Seeing time at his college position (shooting guard) and the position most 6-foot-3 players occupy in the NBA (point guard), Denmon’s focus has been on absorbing the reams of new information coming at him in waves.

It’s a learning process he hopes to continue when the Spurs resume Summer League play tonight against Miami.

“I’m a pretty quick learner,” Denmon said. “I think as you continue to play and learn under a system, your play will continue to elevate.”

Backing up Cory Joseph and James Anderson, two players the Spurs want to force-feed minutes while in Vegas, has limited both Denmon’s time and touches.

Spurs assistant Jacque Vaughn, coach of the summer league squad, has been impressed by Denmon’s willingness to fit into a smaller role than he had in college.

“He hasn’t tried to do too much, but has done enough,” Vaughn said. “Which is a lot harder for guys to understand, especially when you’re fighting for a job.

“The best part is he competes,” Vaughn added. “That’s what I want to see in an individual.”

Based on sheer numbers, the most likely destination for Denmon is overseas, or the Development League.

Holding fast to his NBA dream, however, Denmon refuses to be deterred by math.

“The Spurs drafted me because of the talent they feel I have,” Denmon said. “My job is to hold up my end and just come out and play hard.”

Switch for Green: For the first time in his career, Danny Green came to Summer League as a spectator, and not a player.

Still, even after signing a three-year, $12 million contract to return to the Spurs last week, Green could recall his days as a fledgling Cleveland Cavaliers summer-leaguer hoping to play well enough to impress the right people.

“I know what it’s like to be in these guys’ positions, trying to get a job and make a team,” Green said while watching the Spurs’ loss to the Los Angeles Clippers late Wednesday night. “It’s a lot more comfortable, a lot less stressful, being a spectator.”

Green called his contract, the first guaranteed deal of his NBA career, “a stress-reliever.”

Green is one of three starters the Spurs re-signed in hopes of keeping together a roster that advanced to the Western Conference finals before losing to Oklahoma City.

Power forward Tim Duncan and center Boris Diaw are the others. The Spurs also re-upped with backup point guard Patrick Mills.

“It shows the organization had a great deal of confidence in us,” Green said. “We had a really good team.”


Twitter: @JMcDonald_SAEN

Spurs’ summer schedule

The Spurs’ summer league team has two games remaining in Las Vegas:

Today: vs. Heat, Cox Pavilion, 7 p.m.

Saturday: vs. Mavericks, Cox Pavilion, 5 p.m.

Ginobili rounding into shape slowly

Even after three days without games, Spurs guard Manu Ginobili isn’t certain he is ready yet for back-to-back outings.

“The rest was good, considering the games we’re having,” Ginobili said Tuesday. “(Playing back-to-back) would be a day-to-day thing. After tomorrow’s game, I’ll see. I don’t think I’m going to play that much, but Pop (coach Gregg Popovich) is still concerned, and it’s good that it’s like that.

“I’m feeling a little bit better than last week, so hopefully, I’ll start increasing to a point where I can go with everybody else.”

Ginobili has missed 28 games with a series of ailments: A fractured fifth metacarpal on his left hand; a strained left oblique; and, most recently, tightness in his right hip flexor. He sat out the front end of the back-to-back set Friday and Saturday in Oklahoma City and Dallas but has an eye on the back-to-back-to-back games on the schedule this weekend, beginning Friday against the Mavericks.

“The hip is much better,” he said. “Legs overall, and all around not the best I’ve ever felt, but much better than last week. So that’s what’s having me optimistic and ready.”

The Spurs are one of several teams using a cryosauna treatment in which players’ bodies are cooled below minus-200 degrees Fahrenheit, a process believed to optimize the healing process and promote general health.

“It’s really hard to figure it out if it makes you better or not,” Ginobili said. “It’s not going to hurt you, so we do it, to recover and stuff like that.”

It is not difficult to know one thing about the treatments.

“It is cold,” Ginobili said. “That’s for sure.”

Joseph back to Austin: Rookie point guard Cory Joseph was assigned to the Austin Toros, the Spurs’ NBA D-League team, for the third time this season.

Joseph has appeared in 27 of 43 Spurs games but has played only 204 minutes all season. Popovich has stressed that the greatest need for the team’s youngest player is to get playing time, which he is assured with the Toros.

Joseph’s Austin assignment heightened speculation the Spurs may be nearing a deal with point guard Patty Mills, a former Portland Trail Blazers player recently returned from playing in the Chinese Basketball Association.

Yahoo! Sports.com on Tuesday reported that a deal the Spurs have offered Mills, an Australian national, is awaiting resolution of visa issues.

Easy adjustment: After starting 16 games at shooting guard, rookie Kawhi Leonard was shifted to the starting small forward spot after the trade that sent Richard Jefferson to the Golden State Warriors for Stephen Jackson.

The adjustment, Leonard said, was relatively simple.

“They’re very interchangeable (positions),” he said. “We pretty much do the same thing on the court. It just depends on what number they call to run the play for.”