Led by a no-frills coach, the San Antonio Spurs have long stated the regular season means little to them.
Yet even normally stoic San Antonio couldn’t hide its emotion on the court, and the satisfaction afterward, of toppling the two-time defending champion Miami Heat.
Tim Duncan had 23 points and 11 rebounds, and the host Spurs never trailed against the Heat, weathering a sluggish third quarter for an intense 111-87 victory Thursday.
‘‘I'm sure this has some special meaning, to say something different would be silly,’’ San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said, ‘‘but we expect them to come out hard and play.’’
In their first home game against Miami since losing a heart-wrenching, seven-game NBA Finals, the Spurs handed the Heat their worst loss of the season.
The rematch brought out a raucous sold-out crowd and sparked high emotions from both teams.
‘‘We needed a game like this,’’ Manu Ginobili said. ‘‘We've been talking [about it] all season long.’’
Tony Parker scored 17 points, including 14 in a wild first half, for the Spurs (45-16), who have won five straight.
LeBron James had 19 points for Miami but was hounded by Kawhi Leonard into shooting 6 for 18.
Clippers 142, Lakers 94 — Blake Griffin had 20 points and 11 rebounds during three thunderous quarters by the Clippers, who routed the Lakers again to extend their winning streak to a season-best six games. Chris Paul added 13 points and 11 assists for the Clippers, who have won the last two meetings by a combined 84 points.
This was the Clippers’ largest victory margin over their longtime tormentors, and their sixth victory in the past seven meetings — including a four-game sweep last season.
Suns 128, Thunder 122 — Gerald Green scored 25 of his career-high 41 points in the third quarter and host Phoenix erased a 16-point deficit to win.