A possible NBA Finals preview between the Heat and the Spurs on Sunday in San Antonio will now be nothing more than a regular season contest featuring at least one team playing mostly with its reserves.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Mario Chalmers will all be out for the Heat due to injury, the team announced about 90 minutes before tip-off.
Wade had missed two games earlier this week due to a sore knee, but he’s believed to have other minor ailments which were recently reaggravated. For James, it will be the first time all season he’s missed one of his team’s games.
Erik Spoelstra told reporters pregame that it was a hamstring that was keeping James out, one that kept him from returning in the fourth quarter of Friday’s win New Orleans.
This will be the final meeting between the Heat and the Spurs in the regular season, and as you may recall, the last time they faced each other in Miami, the Spurs were the ones who were without three of their top players.
Gregg Popovich held Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili out of that one simply to give them some extra rest, and his brashness in sending them home to San Antonio before the game even started caused the league to come down on the Spurs with a $250,000 fine for the team’s actions.
Given the fact that James, Wade, and Chalmers are all in the building in San Antonio, along with the fact that injuries are being used as the reason for the decision to hold them out, it’s highly unlikely that the Heat would be similarly fined.
But it is disappointing that we’ll have to wait until June if we’re to see the teams with the top two records in the league go head-to-head while both are at full strength.