SAN ANTONIO — Often the forgotten member of Miami’s ‘‘Big Three,’’ Chris Bosh stepped up with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade sitting out to get the Heat a big win and move closer to securing home-court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs.
Bosh scored 23 points, including the winning 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds remaining, and the Heat beat San Antonio, 88-86, Sunday night with James (strained right hamstring), Wade (sprained right ankle) and Mario Chalmers (sprained right ankle) watching from the locker room as they sat out with injuries.
‘‘We are the defending champs no matter who we put out there,’’ Bosh said. ‘‘We are still the Miami Heat. We believe in ourselves. Each one of these guys is a professional. We played bigger roles in other cities but we came together and accepted lesser roles to win a championship here. We can still tap into that.’’
Ray Allen added 14 points, Norris Cole had 13, and Mike Miller 12 for Miami (58-15), which swept the season series with San Antonio (55-18). By earning the head-to-head tiebreaker with San Antonio, the Heat have a four-game cushion with nine remaining for the league’s best record.
Miami beat San Antonio, 105-100, on Nov. 29 when the Spurs opted to rest Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Danny Green.
All but Ginobili (strained right hamstring) played Sunday.
Duncan had 17 points and 12 rebounds and Kawhi Leonard added 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs.
Bosh finished 3 for 5 on 3-pointers, including the final shot from straightaway in the closing seconds.
Bosh let out a loud yell after making the shot and celebrated with teammates when Parker’s jumper bounced off the backboard as the buzzer sounded.
‘‘He’s a heck of a player, No. 1, but he’s also a hell of a shooter,’’ Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. ‘‘He knocked down a big shot. Timmy contested it and he hit a big shot to win the game. Give him credit.’’
The absences of James, Wade, and Chalmers rekindled the controversy surrounding Popovich’s decision to send Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, and Green home instead of having them play the second game of a back-to-back Nov. 19 in Miami. It was the finale of a six-game road trip, finishing with four games in five days.
The Spurs did not give the NBA or Miami prior notice of the players’ absences, which led the NBA to fine San Antonio $250,000.
Erik Spoelstra was asked if San Antonio’s decision to sit their stars in Miami had an impact on his decision to rest his stars for this game.
‘‘I could see how you guys can draw that conclusion, but no,’’ Spoelstra said before the game.
Unlike Popovich, Spoelstra listed injuries as the reason for his stars’ absence, which will likely eliminate the chance of the league fining Miami.