Prior to Sunday's big-time-holy-crap-it's-maybe-a-possible-NBA-Finals-preview game against the mighty San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra announced that the team would be without LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Mario Chalmers.
All three were apparently dinged up and in need of rest.
So the Heat was forced to go out and play the big-time-holy-crap-it's-maybe-a-possible-NBA-Finals-preview game against the mighty San Antonio Spurs without its two stars and its starting point guard.
Who would step up and rescue the Heat from certain doom from the dark gaping maw of kickassery that is Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and the Perpetual Death Rattle Machine of Basketball Spurs?
With the possibility of having home-court advantage throughout the playoffs on the line, this was probably the worst time for the Heat to go into the Western Conference's top team's home digs without LeBron and D-Wade.
Without Chalmers, the Heat were down to Norris Cole at point guard, with Ray Allen running the point whenever Nono took a breather.
And with all his ball-crushing three-point-scoring awesomeness, Allen running the point is a terrible thing to behold. Allen, who looks like a chicken on acid when dribbling the ball, would have to play mistake-free against San Antonio's Tony Parker.
Shane Battier even jokingly called his fellow the Heat sans LeBron-Wade the Fighting Clowns.
And then there was Duncan, with his massive crotch-clubbing ways, pouring in 17 points while crashing the boards for 12 rebounds.
The Spurs showed their annoyingly dangerous depth, with Kawhi Leonard adding 17 points and 11 rebounds of his own, Parker and Danny Green putting up 12 points apiece, and Stephen Jackson adding 11.
Then there was the Spurs' seven-game home winningstreak to contend with.
But just as all hope seemed bleak and the prognosis for a win at near zero, there was a rumbling sound in the distance......
Chris Bosh, the forgotten third ass-smasher of the Big Three, was on the floor, leading the charge with his massive dino-balls and his silky-smoove jumper.
Bosh finished with 23 points, including going 3-for-5 from the three-point line. Bosh was aggressive, grabbing nine rebounds and holding his own against the Big Fundamentals.
The rest of the Fighting Clowns would be energized by the Boshosaur, including Allen, who poured down 14 points; Cole, who finished with 13 points; Mike Miller, who let it fly with 12 points; and Shane Battier, who scored six points off two made threes and played dick-demolishing defense on the Spurs' perimeter players all night long.
But the Spurs' offense would crash down on Miami like a tidal wave of pestering consistency as Duncan hit a jumper with 2:59 remaining in regulation to give San Antonio the 84-83 lead.
With the Heat getting a chance to re-take the lead, the Spurs took advantage of an Allen turnover and allowed Green to speed toward the basket.
But his layup attempt was sent back by the Horsetronaut.
Then, with 1:21 remaining, Duncan hit another jumper, giving San Antonio an 86-83 lead, as Miami's hopes to steal a scrappy victory dissipated into the ether.
With 32 seconds remaining, Cole hit two free throws to pull Miami to within one point.
And then... with the clock as the Spurs' ally and the Heat in dire straights, Miami needed a hero to arise from the weirdness...
Udonis Haslem, who is the physical embodiment of ass-wreckingness, rotated toward Duncan, forcing him to take a forced fadeaway that clanked off the top of the rim.
And then, with the clock racing down to zero and the Heat insanely choosing not to call a timeout to set up a final shot, the game was swept up in the harrowing frenzy of a last-second-shot fuck-or-walk situation.
Ray Allen had a look, but the Spurs' defense crashed in on Jesus Shuttlesworth.
With a split-second decision, Allen passed the ball to Bosh, who was standing all alone at the top of the key.
On Easter, no less.
Heat 88 - Spurs 86
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