ray allen

When Gregg Popovich gives his best players a night off to rest, it’s not uncommon for the San Antonio Spurs coach to get letters from upset fans.

This time, he’s going to hear from an upset commissioner - even after Popovich’s short-handed team nearly knocked off the Miami Heat.

Ray Allen’s 3-pointer with 22.6 seconds left gave Miami the lead, LeBron James finished with 23 points and the Heat rallied to beat the Spurs 105-100 on Thursday night - digging deep despite San Antonio’s decision to have four top players resting at home in a move that bothered NBA Commissioner David Stern.

The Spurs played without Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green, all sent back to San Antonio by Popovich, who said the move was in his team’s best interest…

Allen scored 20 points, Dwyane Wade added 19 and Chris Bosh finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds for Miami, now 7-0 at home.

Neal had 20 points for the Spurs. Tiago Splitter scored 18 points, Nando De Colo added 15, Boris Diaw scored 12 and Bonner had 10 for San Antonio, which finished a six-games-in-nine-nights road trip with a 5-1 record. Bonner also had 10 rebounds, one more than he had grabbed all season entering the game…

San Antonio closed the first quarter on a 21-6 run, taking a 27-22 lead after the period, and simply did not go away. The Spurs led by as many as seven at one point, and after James Anderson made a pair of free throws with 0.6 seconds left in the third, San Antonio held a 76-73 lead heading into the final 12 minutes.

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press