MIAMI – While the Miami Heat were forced to spend a couple of months getting over losing Dwyane Wade, who left for Chicago after 13 years with the organization, the San Antonio Spurs had their own loss in which they were forced to adjust.
Tim Duncan, who spent his entire 19 year career in San Antonio, retired following last season. Duncan, who won five titles with the Spurs, was as much an icon and a part of San Antonio’s fabric as Wade was in Miami.
“That’s definitely strange,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said about preparing for San Antonio tonight without Duncan on the roster. “And yet when you watch them you just see they still have all the San Antonio principals even without an incredible Hall of Fame player like TD.”
Duncan played 31 regular season games against the Heat. He averaged 18.1 points and 11.2 rebounds while shooting 52 percent.
The Spurs also faced the Heat in two Finals with Miami winning in 2013 in an epic seven-game series and San Antonio getting revenge the next year in five games. Duncan averaged 18.9 points and 12.1 rebounds in 2013 and 15.4 points and 10.0 boards in 2014.
The Spurs, though, started transitioning to the post-Duncan era last year when they signed LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge, though, is getting tonight off after playing three games in five nights to start the season with a sore knee.
“For a basketball afficianado you absolutely respect and enjoy how San Antonio just finds a way to stay ahead of the curve, continue to reinvent and be incredibally efficient on both sides of the game,” Spoelstra said.