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MIAMI (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The Miami Heat have been playing much better over the past several weeks but will likely have their hands full on Tuesday.
The San Antonio Spurs begin their annual Rodeo Road Trip when they visit the Miami Heat in the first of eight consecutive road tilts.
The AT&T Center is unavailable due to the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, so the Spurs won’t play at home again until March 2.
San Antonio is 28-0 at home but its road record is pretty stellar as well at 15-8, second-best in the NBA behind the Golden State Warriors.
The Spurs have won 18 of their last 20 overall games but were tested by the lowly Los Angeles Lakers in their last contest on Saturday before holding on to a 106-102 victory.
“I think the closer the games, the better for us to prepare us because we’re not going to beat everybody the way we have,” shooting guard Danny Green told reporters. “I’m not saying it is luck. But for the most part, one or two plays here have gone our way to where it has opened up the game for us.”
The Heat have won six of their past eight games but one of the defeats during the run occurred Sunday when they fell 100-93 to the Los Angeles Clippers.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, FSN Southwest (San Antonio)
ABOUT THE SPURS (43-8): Veteran center Tim Duncan (knee) is close to returning after a seven-game absence but coach Gregg Popovich is weighing whether to keep him out until after the All-Star break.
San Antonio closes play before the break at Orlando on Wednesday, so not playing Duncan during the two games in Florida essentially gives him another 10 days to heal.
“He’s getting close,” Popovich told reporters. “The question will be do we want to give him any time before the break or not? But he’s been going 3-on-3 and going up and down. He’s close.”
ABOUT THE HEAT (29-23): Center Hassan Whiteside has been coming off the bench the last three games after returning from an oblique injury and Miami would like to increase his minutes against the Spurs.
But the superb shot-blocker tweaked an ankle in the contest against the Clippers and missed Tuesday’s practice.
Whiteside had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocked shots in Saturday’s victory over Charlotte – the fourth time in his career he has recorded a triple-double.
- The Spurs have won the past three meetings.
- Miami F Luol Deng has scored 15 or more points in five of the past six games.
- San Antonio reserve F Matt Bonner (calf) could miss his second consecutive game.
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