SAN ANTONIO (AP) -Manu Ginobili and the San Antonio Spurs would've been relieved to beat a winning team by even a slim margin.
A blowout like this made the victory all the more satisfying.
Tim Duncan had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and San Antonio beat a winning team for the first time in a month with a 108-78 victory over the Miami Heat on Thursday night - the most lopsided Spurs victory this season.
Miami, meanwhile, was handed its most humiliating loss so far. San Antonio has won 10 of 12, but the Heat (16-14) are the only winning team among those victories.
``It was a long time,' Ginobili said.
Before the game, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he's been ``not quite as impressed' as his team's recent roll may suggest since its dominance has only been against weaker competition. Nonetheless, San Antonio won its fourth straight.
``I believe that we got a lot to improve to really become contenders and be respected as one of the best team in the league,' Ginobili said. ``We're not that steady so far this season, but we're on the right track.'
Michael Beasley scored 26 for the Heat, and Dwyane Wade had 16 before watching the blowout from the bench in the fourth.
The Heat fell on the road for the second consecutive night. Back-to-back games have been trouble for Miami, which is 1-7 whether playing on the first or second night.
Miami made just 10 field goals in the second half, and afterward, coach Erik Spoelstra vowed to ``re-evaluate' and talk with his team.
``They throttled us,' Spoelstra said. ``We got what we deserved tonight. Very disappointing loss.'
Duncan scored 13 in the first quarter, but the Spurs didn't need him much after leading 58-49 at halftime. He shot 10 of 13 from the field and didn't play in the fourth quarter.
The Spurs have leaned on Duncan as their leading scorer in seven of their last 12 games. Even with the overhaul San Antonio underwent this summer to give its aging All-Star help, Duncan has continued to carry the Spurs during their best stretch so far.
That stretch finally includes a victory over a winning team - which the Spurs hadn't done since Nov. 27 against Houston.
Between then and now, the Spurs withered against division leaders Boston and Denver, lost to Utah and Phoenix and couldn't beat Portland despite the banged-up Trail Blazers playing without Brandon Roy.
All told, even though San Antonio finally looks to be in a rhythm after a 9-9 start, the Spurs are 3-10 against teams that had winning records entering Friday.
``If all nine (recent) wins were against Cleveland, Orlando, Phoenix or the Lakers, I'd be pretty impressed with us,' Popovich said before the game. ``But that's not the case. Hence, I'm not quite as impressed.'
Tony Parker had 15 points and rookie DeJuan Blair had 14 for the Spurs.
Beasley and Wade were the only Heat players in double-figures. Wade was just one point better than his lowest-scoring game of the season, and his seven turnovers were a season-high.
``We couldn't get anything to go for us,' Wade said. ``They played exceptionally well. Normally with a team when we get down, we can make a run, but we just couldn't do it tonight. So just chalk this one up.'
Notes: The Heat fell to 2-21 all-time in San Antonio. ...The Spurs are slowly getting closer to getting their full roster back. F Matt Bonner (broken hand) is expected to miss another two weeks, and F Michael Finley (ankle) has resumed shooting baskets and conditioning.
The Associated Press News Service
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