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Whiteside shines as Heat snap skid against Spurs

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By Agence France-Presse

Hassan Whiteside scored 29 points, pulled down 20 rebounds and blocked nine shots Wednesday to propel the Miami Heat to their first NBA victory over the San Antonio Spurs since 2014.

Whiteside carried the load in a 95-88 Heat win, Miami making do without veteran star Dwyane Wade who was absent for what the team called personal reasons.

Wayne Ellington scored a season-high 20 points and Justise Winslow added 16 for Miami, who had lost nine straight regular season games to the Spurs and 11 straight when counting the 2014 NBA Finals.

The two teams are a long way from what they were when the met in back-to-back championship series in 2013 and 2014. The Heat, then featuring LeBron James, triumphed in 2013 before the Spurs, then led by Tim Duncan, turned the tables in 2014.

“Man, I’m glad,” said Whiteside, who had played in five Heat losses to the Spurs. “I know the Heat hadn’t beaten them in four years. Coming out here and checking that box — that’s what it’s all about,” he said.

Australian Patty Mills came off the bench to score 20 for San Antonio but the Spurs dropped their second straight. DeMar DeRozan added 18 points on six-of-15 shooting but LaMarcus Aldridge scored just six points, connecting on two of 14 attempts from the field.

Miami seized control early, with a 15-0 scoring run in the opening minutes.

The Spurs narrowed the gap to five points early in the third quarter and were five down with less than a minute to play but Whiteside’s last two free throws sealed it.

Whiteside, who had missed the Heat’s overtime victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday with knee trouble, connected on 10 of 18 shots from the field and made nine of 11 free throws.