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Here’s the Miami Herald reporting on Heat and Spurs 2014 NBA Finals series:

Heat point guards not doing much in 2014 NBA Finals yet

Nine NBA Finals games between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat over the last two summers have shown us the stars need assistance to win the series, even if you’ve got the best player on the planet on your side.

The defending champs squeezed by the Spurs in a 98-96 Game 2 win on Sunday night, evening the series and avoiding their first two-game playoff losing streak in more than two years. But they did so without much help from two point guards that have been so valuable in years past.

Mario Chalmers scored five points and Norris Cole didn’t dent the scoreboard, but the team’s starting point guard said it hasn’t yet become a concern.

“Game 1, I was in foul trouble the whole time, but today I got into a little bit of a rhythm,” Chalmers said, dismissing the idea that playing the first two games on the road makes a difference. “But our job is really to contain Tony Parker and hit shots when we get shots.”

Sunday in San Antonio, the Miami Heat came to town, enjoyed proper arena air conditioning, and edged the Spurs 98-96 to tie the 2014 NBA Finals 1-1. LeBron James shot 14-of-22 in the win for 35 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Enjoy these LeBron video highlights:

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on the Heat, who are down 1-0 to the Spurs in the 2014 NBA Finals. Game 2 is Sunday night in San Antonio:

The last time the Miami Heat lost consecutive playoff games, Ray Allen played for the opposition, Chris Bosh played off the bench, and James Jones was the first reserve off that bench.

Since then, since that June 5, 2012 Eastern Conference finals loss to the Boston Celtics, every Heat playoff loss has been followed with a victory. Every one.

While the sting remains from Thursday’s 110-95 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of these best-of-seven NBA Finals, the Heat go into Sunday’s Game 2 at the AT&T Center having followed up each of their last 12 playoff losses with a victory. It is the longest such streak in the NBA since the Chicago Bulls had a similar 12-victory run that ended in 1992.

“I think this team, when we are faced with those situations, being in this so many times before, it brings out the best in us,” center Chris Bosh said before Saturday’s practice at the Spurs’ practice facility. “We’ve been in this position many times before, so we know how to handle it.”

Three times during last year’s Finals against the Spurs the Heat responded from losses with victories in winning their second consecutive championship, including such a response after losing their first road game of that series at the AT&T Center.

Here’s the Miami Herald reporting on Thursday’s Finals Game 1, where the Spurs beat the Heat:

Mario Chalmers struggles in Game 1 of NBA Finals

Mario Chalmers said his ball-handling responsibilities — always less than the traditional point guard — have been reduced somewhat in these playoffs, to the point where he is “just trying to figure out where I fit in right now.”

Regardless, the Heat needs a more efficient, productive Chalmers than the one who was turnover- and foul-prone in Game 1 of the Finals.

“Everybody knew I was frustrated with the foul trouble I got into early,” Chalmers said Friday. “When I got back in the game, I was trying to press too much. I’ve got to be more patient in my pick and rolls, and try to find more gaps.”

Limited to 17 minutes by foul trouble, Chalmers committed five turnovers and finished with one assist and three points. Tony Parker, who was outscored by Chalmers in the final two games of last year’s Finals, thoroughly outplayed him Thursday, with 19 points and twice as many assists (eight) as turnovers.

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on the Heat-Spurs NBA Finals:

LeBron James definitely expects to play NBA Finals Game 2

The flair for the dramatic was back, even if it temporarily might have stopped the hearts of Miami Heat teammates still reeling from the impact of his Thursday departure.

“If I had to say today,” LeBron James told a packed press conference Friday at the San Antonio Spurs’ practice facility, “I would probably be out on Sunday. I probably won’t play.”

He paused. Some gasped. Then he smiled.

“No, I’ll be all right,” he continued. “I’ll be in uniform on Sunday. I should be 100 percent on Sunday.”

With treatment ongoing for the cramping that sidelined the All-Star forward for the decisive latter stages of the Heat’s 110-95 Thursday loss to the Spurs at the AT&T Center in Game 1 of the best-of-seven NBA Finals, James said extensive overnight hydration, round-the-clock therapy and a return to air-conditioned confines had him in a far better place than those sweltering and debilitation hours when he attempted to play through the air-conditioning malfunction at the Spurs’ arena.

Here are video highlights of the top plays from Spurs vs Heat NBA Finals Game 1. Played in San Antonio Thursday night, the Spurs won, 110-95

Some top 2014 NBA Finals storylines

RETURN TRIP: A Finals rematch is a rare treat. This will be the first time since 1997 and 1998 two teams will square off in consecutive years. Further adding to the anticipation, it’s the first time in 25 years that two teams played a seven-game Finals and repeated as conference champions the following season.

SUSTAINED EXCELLENCE: Six Finals appearances in 16 seasons and 15 consecutive 50+ win seasons have established the Spurs as the NBA’s model for long-term success. Is this the team’s last run for a championship? When you’re the Spurs, the answer to that question can never be yes.

COACHING UP: Only four coaches in the history of the NBA (Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach, Pat Riley and John Kundla) have won five or more titles. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich hopes to join this elite club in 2014. On the other sideline, Erik Spoelstra is aiming to become only the fourth coach (Auerbach, Kundla and Jackson) in NBA history to win three straight Finals.

DOING IT WITH DEPTH: The Spurs’ depth has been one of the largest reasons for their return to The Finals. San Antonio is the first team since the NBA/ABA merger (1976) to not have a single player average 30 minutes. The Spurs had nine players average at least 8.0 points this season — the first team to hold that distinction and make The Finals since the 1965-66 Celtics. San Antonio’s reserves finished the regular season with the highest scoring average in Spurs franchise history and in this season’s playoffs, the reserves have accounted for a league-high 42.2 points per game.

DIFFERENT PATH, SIMILAR RESULTS: The Spurs and Heat were built in different ways, with different types of players. After Tim Duncan, who was the top pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, the next highest Spurs draft pick is Kawhi Leonard (15th overall pick). Their roster boasts five second-rounders and one undrafted player. The Heat, on the other hand, features six top 10 picks on its star-studded roster.

– NBA News

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Heat backup guard Norris Cole:

Young Norris Cole living in NBA Finals with Heat

Norris Cole isn’t ready to assess his place in history, not at 25, not in just his third season in the league.

But he appreciates the uniqueness of his NBA reality, having now made it to the Finals in each of his first three seasons, with championships in each of his first two.

With this best-of-seven series against the San Antonio Spurs, the reserve point guard becomes the first player to appear in the NBA Finals in his first three seasons since Scott Williams did it with the Chicago Bulls from 1991 to 1993.

Beyond being the first player to do that in more than two decades, Cole entered these Finals having appeared in 55 playoff games, the fourth highest total over a player’s first three seasons.

Spurs get their Heat Finals rematch

Spurs get their Heat Finals rematch

Starting Thursday, the Spurs get a rematch in the NBA Finals against the only team to ever beat them in a championship series. San Antonio will be holding home-court advantage, so if another Game 7 awaits, the Spurs will have the decided edge this time around. If that wasn’t enough, the Spurs even got basically five full days between games to get healthy and prepare.

It is, without question, everything the Spurs could have wanted.

“We know what we’re going against,” said Spurs guard Tony Parker, who added that he has great respect for what the Heat have done in this four-year run. “It’s a great challenge.”

There are so many things that would seem like a distinct San Antonio advantage right now.

First, while everyone’s better at home, the Spurs dominate in San Antonio, winning 103 times in their last 123 games there. Over the past four seasons, the Spurs are also 25-5 when having three or more days between games.

– Associated Press

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on veteran Spurs star Tim Duncan, who sure seems ready for an NBA Finals rematch with the Heat:

The normally bland Duncan offered some surprising thoughts on facing the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals for a second straight year. The best-of-7 series opens Thursday in San Antonio.

“We’re back here now and we want to get it done this time,” Duncan said.

The Spurs advanced after defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games. Last year they lost in seven games to the Heat despite holding a 3-2 lead in the series. The Heat won the last two at AmericanAirlines Arena, but this time the Spurs hold homecourt advantage.

“We were ready last year, too,” Duncan said. “People keep talking about it like we weren’t close to winning it. We were ready last year, and we just couldn’t get over that hump. We’re happy to be back here this year, we’re happy to have another opportunity at it.”

Duncan said the Spurs still have a “bad taste” in their mouths after last year. This season began with coach Gregg Popovich addressing the team about how close they were.

Heat must win on road in NBA Finals

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on the upcoming NBA Finals series between the Heat and Spurs:

The season began with the Miami Heat hearing about how their biggest rival in the Eastern Conference wanted to earn homecourt.

Now, the Heat have to listen of how their latest challenge embraces being the home team.

For the Heat to win a third straight NBA title, they will have to defeat the San Antonio Spurs as the visiting team.

“Once the time came when the playoffs started, we knew whoever we were going to play there was a chance that we were going to have to win on the road,” guard Ray Allen said.

Last year homecourt proved valuable in the Heat defeating the Spurs in the Finals. They trailed 3-2 when the series returned to Miami. The Heat then won the last two games to capture a second consecutive championship.

Here’s the Miami Heat arena, ready for Saturday’s Heat vs Indiana Pacers Eastern Conference Finals Game 3:

After concussion, Paul George cleared to play Pacers-Heat Game 3

Good news for the Indiana Pacers: they’ll have their best scorer Saturday as the team visits the Miami Heat for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The series is currently tied 1-1.

Under the care of the Pacers’ medical staff, Paul George has spent the past three days engaged in the NBA’s Return-to-Participation Exertion Protocol as part of the NBA’s Concussion Policy. George remained symptom free after each step of the process. The Pacers staff consulted with Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, the NBA’s Director of Concussion Management, throughout George’s progress through the protocol and today cleared him to return to normal basketball activity.

George will participate in tomorrow’s shootaround and barring any unforeseen complications, he will play in Saturday’s game at the Miami Heat.


Paul George scored 24 points, David West had 19, and the Indiana Pacers protected their home court with a 107-96 victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday to take a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

Indiana led wire-to-wire and never even gave the Heat a chance to tie the score after starting the game with a 5-0 lead.

Game 2 is Tuesday in Indiana. The home team has won all five meetings this season.

Dwyane Wade scored 27 points and LeBron James had 25 for the two-time defending NBA champions, who lost for only the second time in 10 playoff games.

Indiana had a 30-point first quarter for the first time since Feb. 27, extended the lead to 19 in the third and Miami couldn’t get closer than nine the rest of the way.

For months, people wondered what happened to the Indiana team that dominated the first half of the NBA season.

On Sunday, those Pacers suddenly reappeared.

– Associated Press

The Heat committed 26 fouls compared to 15 for the Pacers. The worst of it, of course, was a flagrant by Mario Chalmers on Watson with 9:22 left in the game. Chalmers first hit Watson with a common foul as Watson drove the basket. The Heat’s starting point guard then pushed Watson into press row, which was located on the baseline.

Chalmers was assessed a flagrant foul for the unnecessary shove and Watson was awarded four foul shots. His free throws gave the Pacers a 15-point lead.

An 18-foot turnaround jumper by Lance Stephenson put the Pacers ahead by 13 points with 7:37 to play and Indiana led by double digits for the remainder of the game.

– Miami Herald

It didn’t take 30 minutes of basketball Sunday for all five Pacers starters to reach double figures in scoring, and each starter made an impact in his own way.

Hill knocked down shots early. West punished the Heat inside on mismatches, ignoring his trusted jump shot to bully his way into the post. Paul George picked off shots in the flow of the offense, and Lance Stephenson provided crucial buckets in a big second quarter in particular. Miami struggled all game with Hibbert, who was never dominant but always present, scoring and rebounding consistently.

Starters combined to score 94 of Indiana’s 107 points in Game 1.

– Indianapolis Star

Miami Heat arena agreement reached

Here’s the Miami Herald with some Heat arena news:

The Miami Heat would receive $42 million in subsidies to play at the AmericanAirlines Arena for an extra five years and end a profit-sharing arrangement in favor of $23 million in payments to Miami-Dade’s parks department, under a deal reached by Mayor Carlos Gimenez and owner Micky Arison.

Miami-Dade would retain its ability to profit from the arena’s naming-rights agreement once the current deal with American Airlines expires in 2020, though the arrangement includes a provision to resolve disputes over how much of that sponsorship windfall would go to the county and how much would stay with the team, Gimenez said Friday.

While Arison was seeking a 10-year extension through 2040, Gimenez said the proposed deal only secures the team through 2035 out of fear the higher subsidies would cut into hotel taxes needed to pay off massive payments due from the 2009 Miami Marlins deal. Under the proposed agreement, Miami-Dade’s current $6.4 million subsidy to the Heat would increase by $2 million a year between 2031 and 2035.

Here’s the New York Post reporting on the Heat vs Nets series, which Miami now leads 3-1:

Joe Johnson wasn’t impressed with LeBron James’ defense against him in the final minutes of the Nets’ 102-96 loss to the Heat in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal Monday night.

“I wasn’t necessarily trying to draw the foul on him,” said Johnson, although James had five fouls while defending him, “but I thought he was aggressive, so I was just trying to use his aggressiveness against him.

“[But] he flopped that last one.”

Johnson, who had 18 points but went just 5-for-15 from the floor — including 0-for-4 in the fourth quarter — twice found himself matched up against James inside the final two minutes. But after James successfully defended Johnson’s fallaway jumper with the score tied at 94 with 1:16 remaining, Johnson tried to make a step-back jumper as James banged into him and fell to the floor. Johnson missed the shot with 40.7 seconds remaining and the Nets trailing 97-94.

Paul Pierce says Nets not scared of Heat

Here’s the New York Post reporting on the Heat and Nets, who are facing each other in the second round of the 2014 NBA playoffs. The Heat currently lead the series 2-1, but the Nets stepped up yesterday to win Game 3 in Brooklyn yesterday.

The Nets made their stand last night against LeBron James, and Brooklyn showed up to stand with them.

When you are The King of your sport, you live for these occasions, when the opponent is reeling and desperate and you have the chance to go for the throat and choke the last vestiges of life out of it.

Once you become The King, every game becomes a Game of Thrones, every series a Series of Thrones.

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, remember, came to Brooklyn to threaten The Kingdom, and with a lot of luck and Mikhail Prokhorov maybe installing a Fountain of Youth somewhere inside Barclays Center, to dream the improbable dream of shocking the world and somehow wresting the crown from The King.

That dream stayed alive Saturday night when Brooklyn, a 104-90 winner, played with a toughness and an edge and a pride that reflects Mike Tyson’s borough and refused to let King James grab a 3-0 series lead and bury it.

“We’re not scared of them,” Pierce said.

Enjoy these video highlights of LeBron James helping the Miami Heat take a 2-0 series lead against the Brooklyn Nets in their second round NBA playoff series:

The Heat are up 2-0 against the Nets in their second round NBA playoff series. Here’s the Miami Herald on a couple of Heat players who so far in the playoffs have a good view from their seats on the bench. Which isn’t surprising, considering the Heat rotation players already have championship rings from their previous playoff efforts:

michael beasley

In crafting its roster last summer, the Heat hoped Greg Oden and Michael Beasley would provide an extra boost in its title defense.

Turns out, neither has been needed so far in the early stages of the playoffs.

Not only are both out of the rotation, but one is usually relegated to the Heat’s inactive list, alongside rookie Justin Hamilton.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra kept Beasley active ahead of Oden in the first and second games of this series because the Nets “are a very perimeter-oriented team.”

With the Nets playing a lot of smaller lineups, this series is not the ideal matchup for Oden, who played 212 minutes in 23 games this season, including six starts, and averaged 2.9 points and 2.3 rebounds.

Oden, who hasn’t appeared in a Heat playoff game, might earn minutes in an Eastern Conference finals matchup against Indiana’s Roy Hibbert or Washington’s Marcin Gortat, though he likely would play behind Udonis Haslem if he plays at all.

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting on the Heat and Nets, who are facing each other in the Eastern conference semifinals:

lebron james

This is what it’s supposed to look like when the two-time defending champ plays the sixth seed.

It’s supposed to be lopsided, with the favorites imposing their will and their athletic advantage, scoring easily and often under the basket.

Only it wasn’t supposed to happen to the Nets, not after they beat the Heat in all four regular-season meetings.

“Regular seasons don’t even matter,” Miami’s Dwyane Wade said.

Like the Heat was preaching all along, the playoffs are a different animal. It became painfully apparent for the Nets on Tuesday night at American Airlines Arena, where they were stomped by a balanced Miami attack and fell in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

It was just too easy for LeBron James and Co. in their 107-86 domination. They outscored the Nets in the paint, 52-28. They shot 57%, breaking open the game in the third quarter before Jason Kidd waved the white flag.

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