Florida Panthers

Miami Sports Minute – Thursday Dec. 7, 2017

In the latest Miami Sports Minute we recap the Miami Heat loss to the San Antonio Spurs, update Roberto Luongo’s injury, and preview the Panthers game against Winnipeg.

Heat open road trip with loss at Spurs

The Miami Heat got off to a hot start on the road in San Antonio but couldn’t hold off the Spurs, losing 117-105. Miami began strong led by a starting lineup featuring Kelly Olynyk at center and James Johnson at power forward.

Erik Spoelstra matched Olynyk and Johnson against the front court duo of LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol. Miami shot 62 percent in the first quarter against San Antonio’s top rated scoring defense for a 35-27 lead. The Heat converted six of their first 10 three point attempts.

Miami slowed down just a bit in the second quarter as turnovers started to creep into the mix. San Antonio took their first lead at 47-46 with about five minutes left in the second quarter. The Heat managed to regain a 58-57 lead going into halftime. Dion Waiters bounced back from a four point performance against Golden State and had 10 points at the break, Tyler Johnson led the Heat with 11 points. Miami shot 58 percent from the field in the first half, including nine of 17 from beyond the arc. The energy and ball movement early were some of the best from the Heat all season.

Miami was able to keep the momentum in the second half, after falling behind by seven they scored nine in a row for a 75-73 lead. The three point barrage continued for Miami as they shot nearly 60 percent (16/27) through three quarters. Unfortunately the Spurs were just as effective on offense and led 86-82 going into the fourth.

The Spurs quickly pushed the lead to double digits. Miami had already allowed 17 points off of 15 turnovers midway through the fourth quarter. San Antonio had numerous open looks and easy baskets in transition and looked to pull away late. Tyler Johnson had other ideas, sparked by a career high five three pointers he helped keep the Heat within striking distance. Johnson finished with a team high 25 points. Dion Waiters had 22 and Josh Richardson added 19 points for Miami. The Spurs were simply too balanced with eight players in double figures led by Aldridge with 18 points. Miami got little from the bench besides Tyler Johnson as no other player from the second unit had more than six points. It was a waste of a great shooting night for Miami who finished over 54 percent from the field. The Heat have now lost 27 out of 30 trips to San Antonio. Miami travels to Mexico City Saturday to face Brooklyn and now stand at 11-13 on the season.

Luongo out several weeks with groin injury

Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo will be sidelined for an extended period of time with a groin injury. Luongo suffered the injury in the Panthers loss to the New York Islanders on Monday.

James Reimer will assume the number one goalie spot. Florida called up Harri Setari from AHL affiliate Springfield to serve as Reimer’s backup. This will be the second extended absence for Luongo who missed eight games earlier in the year with an injured right hand.

The Panthers will face a red hot Jets team who enter the game at 17-7-4, including wins in three out of their last four. The Jets also lead the Western Conference in goals scored. Florida should have plenty of chances as Winnipeg is not as strong on the blue line and are coming off a 5-1 loss at Detroit on Tuesday. We will have a full recap of the game in the next Miami Sports Minute.

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