Miami Heat

Shabazz Napier, backups lead Miami Heat over Spurs in preseason win

Shabazz Napier #13 of the Miami Heat shoots against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center on October 18, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.
Shabazz Napier #13 of the Miami Heat shoots against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center on October 18, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. NBAE/Getty Images

Shabazz Napier just might be a name Heat fans won’t easily forget.

Not that his name was hard to forget to begin with.

The rookie guard scored 25 points and had four assists against the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs as the Heat escaped with a 111-108 overtime preseason win Saturday at the AT&T Center.

It was Napier’s highest scoring output this preseason, and Miami’s second straight win in a back-to-back road series.

Marco Belinelli drained a three-pointer to tie it at 100 with 28.4 left to play, and Tyler Johnson missed two free throws.

Johnson made up for it though in overtime with a three-pointer, and Napier hit 4 of 4 free throws to secure the victory.

The Heat (2-4) opted to sit starters Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Luol Deng in the 2014 NBA Finals rematch one night after picking up its first preseason victory.

Danny Granger, Shawne Williams and Mario Chalmers joined Udonis Haslem and Norris Cole in the starting lineup and held the Spurs at bay with a 20-19 lead with just under four minutes to play in the first quarter.

But it was at the 2:30 mark that Miami really began to put a stronghold on San Antonio thanks to the efforts of Napier.

The 6-1 guard scored all but one point during an 11-0 Heat run that catapulted Miami to a 31-19 advantage at the beginning of the second quarter. Napier’s output came in roughly four minutes of action.

The two-time NCAA champion from UConn sparked the rally with a 22-foot pull up jumper and added a second jump shot while making 4 of 4 from the free-throw line to give the Heat a 10-point cushion at the end of the first quarter.

His steal and layup at the start of the second increased Miami’s lead to 11.

Napier played 11:48 in the first half, to lead the Heat with 14 points, two steals and two assists while shooting 3 of 6 from the field and hitting 8-of-10 free throws.

It was also his defense on Bryce Cotton that gave Miami the boost it needed.

He returned to the bench with four minutes remaining in the first half and did not return to the game until 3:38 in the third.

Despite having a quiet second half, Napier nailed a three-pointer to keep the Heat ahead 81-77 with just under a minute left to play in the third. He also added a jumper with 5:46 in the fourth to keep Miami six points in front of San Antonio.

Before Saturday’s game, Napier was averaging 17.9 minutes and 10.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists through five games. He played 32 minutes Saturday.

The most minutes Napier had played in Miami’s first five games was Friday night (27 minutes), when Miami picked up their first preseason win against Golden State, 115-108.

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