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LeBron James to Wear No. 23 for Cavaliers

LeBron James to Wear No. 23 for Cavaliers

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — LeBron James tweeted on Sunday that he’ll go back to wearing No. 23 this season as he makes his return to Cleveland.
When James left Cleveland in 2010, fans burned his No. 23 jersey, but now they’ll have to go out and buy another one.
“23 it is! It’s only right I go back. 2·3=6 We still family 6. #HomeTeam #StriveForGreatness,” James tweeted.
James switched to his Olympic No. 6 with the Miami Heat, but decided to switch back after the league did not retire the number for Michael Jordan.
James has led the league jersey sales for six of the 11 seasons he’s played in the NBA.
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Cavaliers’ David Blatt Says Team Won’t Trade Andrew Wiggins

Cavaliers’ David Blatt Says Team Won’t Trade Andrew Wiggins

Jost West/Getty Images Sport(NEW YORK) — With rumors flying that the Cleveland Cavaliers could now shift their attention to acquiring Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love, head coach David Blatt says the team will not trade Andrew Wiggins in any potential deal for Love.
“There’s no reason or cause for worry on his part because Andrew’s not going anywhere, as far as I know and as far as the club has expressed,” Blatt told reporters Saturday.
Wiggins was the number one overall pick by the Cavaliers in the NBA Draft last June. Many see him as a potential franchise player, and the team is reluctant to give him up.
“I would think for a guy like Andrew, to have the opportunity to play with arguably one of the best players of all time, and to learn from him and to be tutored by him and to play alongside him — which he will — I gotta think that’s a tremendous boost to his confidence and his comfort level and probably his motivation,” Blatt told reporters.
Love is reportedly “intrigued” by the idea of playing with James in Cleveland, but it remains to be seen if the Cavaliers can bring him on board without giving up Wiggins.
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Lebron James Is Headed Back to Cavaliers

Lebron James Is Headed Back to Cavaliers

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — LeBron James is headed back to Cleveland, the four-time MVP announced on Friday in an article he wrote for Sports Illustrated.
James spent seven seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers before leaving for Miami in 2010. Following his departure, James made four NBA finals appearances and took home two NBA titles, with help from Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, for the Miami Heat.
The Heat made a last-pitch effort to lock in James Wednesday when team president Pat Riley met with James and his agent, Rich Paul, in Las Vegas.
Paul did most of the talking during this free agency process, compared to 2010. He also met with the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns.
James joins a young Cleveland roster that includes Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao, and this year’s number-one overall pick, Andrew Wiggins.
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Lebron James Opts out of Contract, Set for Free Agency

Lebron James Opts out of Contract, Set for Free Agency

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Here we go again. Lebron James’ agent, Rich Paul, has informed the Miami Heat that James will opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
While NBA fans may be salivating at the idea of landing arguably the best player in the NBA, opting out of his deal does not necessarily mean he will leave the Heat.
James had until June 30 to opt out of the final two years of his deal. He had $42.7 million remaining on his deal.
A four-time NBA MVP, James is one of the most transcendent players in the NBA and all of sports. In 11 NBA seasons, James has averaged 27.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 6.9 assists per game.
James spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He infamously chose to play for the Heat during the summer of 2010.
Now 29, James went to four-consecutive Finals with the Heat, and won two titles.
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Spurs Stomp Heat, Take 3-1 Finals Lead

Spurs Stomp Heat, Take 3-1 Finals Lead

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(MIAMI, Fla.) — Kawhi Leonard had 20 points and 14 rebounds while playing tremendous defense against LeBron James to help San Antonio dominate the Heat in a 107-86 win in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The Spurs now take a 3-1 lead in the series and are one win away from a world championship.
“I’m pleased that they performed as well as they did while we’ve been in Miami, and that’s about as far as it goes,” said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. “Now we’ve got to go back home and play as well or better.”
For the second straight game, San Antonio dominated, leading by as many as 24 points in the third quarter. The Spurs shot 57.1 percent from the floor as a team, including 9-for-21 from three-point distance. Miami, who had not lost at home this postseason prior to Game 3 on Tuesday, shot just 45 percent in the loss.
Despite 28 points from LeBron James, 19 of which came in the third quarter, the Heat were unable to find an answer defensively. Now they must do what no team has ever done, win an NBA Finals after trailing 3 games to 1. 
Tim Duncan surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most career playoff minutes (8,869) as well as Magic Johnson’s all-time record for double-doubles in the postseason (158). Duncan has helped bring San Antonio all four world titles in franchise history, the most recent of which in 2007. He can add a fifth to his resume on Sunday when the team returns to San Antonio.
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Spurs Dominate Heat to Win Game 3 of NBA Finals

Spurs Dominate Heat to Win Game 3 of NBA Finals

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(MIAMI) — The San Antonio Spurs hit 19 of their first 21 shots en route to a 111-92 destruction of the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the NBA Finals Tuesday.
The Spurs now lead the best-of-seven series two games to one.
The Spurs shooting may have not been as hot after their first 21 shots, but it still was good. San Antonio finished the first half hitting a Finals-record 75.8% of its shots.
“I don’t think we’ll ever shoot 76 percent in a half ever again,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said.
Kawhi Leonard, who scored 18 points combined in Games 1 and 2, had a career-high 29 points in the win.
“I just was able to get into a rhythm tonight,” Leonard said to ESPN. “In Game 1 and 2 I got in some foul trouble so I was getting subbed out pretty early. Tonight I got in a rhythm and knocked down shots early.”
The Spurs also turned Miami over 20 times, which led to 23 points.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade each had 22 points in the loss.
Game 4 is Thursday night in Miami. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. Eastern. You can watch the match-up on ABC.
 
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James Scores 35, Heat Tie Series

James Scores 35, Heat Tie Series

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(SAN ANTONIO, Texas) — After two days of taking criticism for missing the final four minutes of a Game 1 loss, LeBron James scored 35 points and added 10 rebounds as Miami defeated San Antonio 98-96 in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. The Heat have won 13 straight postseason games after a loss, evening the series at one game apiece.
“What happened on Thursday was Thursday,” said James after the win. “My whole focus was how I was going to try to help this team even this up and just try to make some plays.”
One play he made was an assist to Chris Bosh for a go-ahead three at the 1:18 mark of the fourth quarter. That gave Miami a 95-93 advantage that they would not relinquish. A Dwayne Wade layup on a broken play upped the lead to five with nine seconds remaining to seal the deal.
The back-and-forth affair saw San Antonio lead by as many as eight points, and hold a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. While nursing an 87-85 advantage, both Tim Duncan and Tony Parker missed a pair of free throws midway through the frame. James followed with a three-pointer to take the lead and regain momentum.
Duncan finished the game with 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Spurs while Parker had a team high 21 points. Four different players for the Heat scored in double-figures. Game 3 is Tuesday night in Miami.
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Gatorade Issues Apology to LeBron, Electrical Malfunction Fixed

Gatorade Issues Apology to LeBron, Electrical Malfunction Fixed

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — An electrical malfunction left the air conditioner within the AT&T Center useless, causing temperatures within the arena to reach the nineties during Thursday night’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs.
Heat All-Star LeBron James suffered cramps in the fourth quarter that kept him out the final four minutes of the game in San Antonio’s 110-95 win.
Following the game, Gatorade tweeted, “Our athletes can take the heat,” but issued a statement to ABC News on Friday.
“Our apologies for our response to fans’ tweets during last night’s Heat vs. Spurs game.  We got caught up in the heat of the battle. As a longtime partner of the Miami Heat, we support the entire team,” a Gatorade spokesperson said.
The electrical failure was fixed on Friday morning and the Spurs Sports & Entertainment issued a statement regarding the issue.
“The electrical failure that caused the AC system outage during Game 1 of the NBA Finals has been repaired.  The AC system has been tested, is fully operational and will continue to be monitored.  The upcoming events at the  AT&T Center, including the Romeo Santos concert tonight, the Stars game on Saturday night and Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday, will go on as scheduled.  We apologize for the conditions in the arena during last night’s game.”
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Spurs Top Miami, and Beat the Heat, in Game 1

Spurs Top Miami, and Beat the Heat, in Game 1

Chris Covatta/Getty Images(SAN ANTONIO, Texas) — The San Antonio Spurs outscored Miami 36-17 in the fourth quarter, and battled an air conditioner issue to boot, to defeat the Heat 110-95 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. An electrical malfunction left the air conditioner within the AT&T Center useless, causing temperatures within the arena to reach the nineties.
“It was tough on both teams,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “They were pretty dead. We tried to get guys in and out. It was really hot out there.”
Miami led 86-79 with just under nine minutes to play in the fourth quarter, but a 15-4 Spurs run turned it into a four-point San Antonio lead. After LeBron James cut the deficit to 94-92, the sweltering temperatures forced the Heat forward out of the game with apparent cramps. The Heat scored just three points in the final four minutes without James as San Antonio won their eighth straight home playoff game.
“After I came out of the game, they kind of took off,” James told a pool reporter after the game. “And it was frustrating sitting out and not be able to help our team.”
Danny Green scored 11 of his 13 points in the final frame, including three 3-point baskets, leading a San Antonio charge that saw them close the game on a 30-9 run. Tim Duncan had 21 points and 10 rebounds to pace the Spurs while James led all scorers with 25 points. 
NBA President of Basketball Operations, Rod Thorn, said after the game that the conditions on the court were not harmful to the players. Thorn also stated that officials expected the air conditioning issue to be resolved in time for Game 2 on Sunday.
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LeBron: We’ll Be Ready For Spurs

LeBron: We’ll Be Ready For Spurs

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images(MIAMI) — LeBron James isn’t fazed by Spurs center Tim Duncan’s comments after they beat the Thunder in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.
Following the win that clinched a trip for a Finals rematch with the Heat, Duncan said: “We’re excited about it. We’ve got four more to win. We’ll do it this time.”
James and the Heat had an extended practice on Monday as they prepare for their fourth trip to the Finals.
“They don’t like us, they don’t. I can sense it from Timmy’s comments over the last couple of days,” James said. “They wanted this, they wanted us and we’ll be ready for the challenge.”
James is looking for his third NBA title and Dwyane Wade is seeking his fourth.
“They’ve been preparing for this moment [and] we have as well,” James said. “No one is entitled. This is no one’s championship. It isn’t ours, it isn’t theirs, it’s two teams fighting for it.”
Game 1 is on Thursday in San Antonio.  The Heat beat the Spurs in the NBA Finals in seven games last year.
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Heat Advance to Fourth Straight NBA Finals

Heat Advance to Fourth Straight NBA Finals

Chris Trotman/Getty Images(MIAMI, Fla.) — It was the same old story in Miami on Friday night as another dominating performance from the Heat led to another appearance in the NBA Finals. Miami defeated Indiana 117-92 in Game 6, clinching their fourth consecutive Eastern Conference Championship.
The Heat became just the fourth team, and third franchise ever, to reach four consecutive NBA finals. The last team to complete the feat was the Boston Celtics (1984-87). Now they look to become the first team since the Los Angeles Lakers (2000-2002) to win three straight NBA Championships.
Both LeBron James and Chris Bosh scored 25 points as Miami knocked out the Pacers for the third straight year in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat trailed 9-2 early but went on an 11-0 run to take a lead that they would not relinquish. With the win Miami set a franchise record with their 11th straight home postseason victory.
Indiana, which had led the Eastern Conference for most of the season, got 29 points from Paul George and another 16 from David West. Once again, Roy Hibbert was almost unproductive, scoring just eight points in the loss.
Miami led by as many as 37, their biggest margin at any point during the season. They now await the winner of the Western Conference Finals between Oklahoma City and San Antonio. The Heat beat San Antonio last season and took down the Thunder in 2012 to win their first of consecutive titles.
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George Scores 37, Pacers Stay Alive

George Scores 37, Pacers Stay Alive

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) — Paul George scored 21 of his game-high 37 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 93-90 do-or-die victory over the Miami Heat Wednesday, in Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.
The Heat lead the best-of-seven series three games to two.
“I just felt it. I felt in rhythm. I had to be aggressive,” George said. “I tried to come out and be aggressive to start this game off, and I was getting looks. I got hot.” That was something Heat forward LeBron James never had a chance to do: James was in foul trouble the entire game; he only played 24 1/2 minutes, scoring a career playoff-low seven points.
Despite the lack of production from James, the Heat hung in. Rashard Lewis scored 18 points, hitting 6-of-9 from 3-point land. Dwyane Wade also had 18 points as well as eight rebounds and seven assists.
The Heat had a chance to win the game at the end when LeBron James drove to the basket and dished the ball to Chris Bosh in the corner for a three, but Bosh’s shot clanked off the rim forcing a Game 6.
The series now shifts to Miami Friday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Eastern.
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Allen Helps Heat Scorch Pacers

Allen Helps Heat Scorch Pacers

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(MIAMI, Fla.) — The Miami Heat trailed by as many as 15 points but Ray Allen netted all 16 he had as the defending champs rallied to a 99-87 win over Indiana in the Eastern Conference Finals. With the win, Miami now leads the series by a final of 2-1.
Allen, who signed with Miami prior to last year, has always had a knack for racking up points when it matters most. Despite have zero points through the first three quarters, the 19-year veteran hit the first four three-pointers he attempted in the final 12 minutes.
Indiana had jumped out to an early 17-4 lead and eventually pushed it to 37-22 in the second quarter. The Heat would go on to outscore the Pacers 77-50 the rest of the way, taking control of the series.
“Tough loss for our guys,” said Indiana head coach, Frank Vogel. “Thought we competed pretty well, came out of the gates really strong, got off to a good start and then didn’t manage our foul trouble well and didn’t manage picking up their defensive intensity well.” 
The biggest blow came in the final moments of the third, and opening seconds of the fourth quarter. LeBron James hit a three-point shot with 1:21 left to play in the third to give Miami a 67-63 lead. As time expired in the period, Dwayne Wade buried a three of his own before doing the same thing to start the fourth and giving Miami a 10 point lead.
James finished the game with 26 points while Wade added 23 in the victory. Miami’s defense was just as impressive, holding Indiana to just 47.7 percent from the floor including six-for-21 from downtown. Game 4 is Monday night in South Florida.
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LeBron James Leads Heat to Game 2 Victory over Pacers

LeBron James Leads Heat to Game 2 Victory over Pacers

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) –  LeBron James scored 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, and the Miami Heat rallied to burn the Indiana Pacers 87-83 on Tuesday night to even up the Eastern Conference finals at a game apiece.
Dwayne Wade led the Heat with 23 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter when the Heat went on a 12-2 run late to put the game away.
Indiana led 73-69 with 7:19 remaining when James and Wade took control of the game. Miami’s defense gave up only eight points over the final five minutes.
“That’s what’s it’s about,” James said afterwards. “It’s not going to be pretty. Not in the Eastern Conference. It’s never pretty basketball in the Eastern Conference. It’s about who can sustain runs. You know, who can get defensive stops? Who can not turn the ball over and who can get great shots? I think we did that in the fourth.”
Lance Stephenson scored 25 points in the loss for the Pacers, while Paul George added 14. After working so hard to earn home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Pacers gave it away to the two-time defending champions. They’ll need a win in Miami to earn it back.
Miami has won 11 straight games following a playoff loss and still has not trailed 2-0 in a series since the first round of the 2012 playoffs.
Game 3 is Saturday night in South Beach.
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Pacers Prevail, Beat Heat in Game 1 of East Finals

Pacers Prevail, Beat Heat in Game 1 of East Finals

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) — The Indiana Pacers have the Miami Heat figured out for one game at least after their 107-96 win in game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday.
Paul George led the way for Indiana with 24 points and seven assists and both David West and Roy Hibbert added 19 in the victory.
“There’s nothing to celebrate. It’s not like we won a championship. It’s one game,” George Hill said. “Yes, it was good, but if we come out and lay an egg on Tuesday, this game doesn’t mean anything.”
The Pacers had a 19 point lead late in the third and entered the fourth up by 13. West’s layup gave Indiana 100-84 lead with 5:07 left.
Dwyane Wade scored 27 and LeBron James had 25 in the loss.  Chris Bosh was held to nine points and two rebounds.
“The game’s still so fresh. It’s too hard to just say, `Well, we need to do this better in Game 2,” James said after the Heat lost for just the second time in 10 playoff games. “We need to evaluate our mistakes and things we did in Game 1 first before I can say what we need to bring to Game 2.”
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Heat Advance to Eastern Conference Finals

Heat Advance to Eastern Conference Finals

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images(MIAMI) –  Don’t look now, but the Miami Heat are back in the Eastern Conference finals for the fourth year in a row.
LeBron James and Dwayne Wade combined to score 57 points as the Heat rallied to defeat the Brooklyn Nets 96-94 on Wednesday night, winning their second-round matchup in five games.
“When we met the first day for prep, we said the No. 1 key, overwhelmingly the No. 1 key in this series, was great mental stability,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the two-time defending champions won their 10th straight playoff series.
The Nets led by eight with under five minutes remaining and were looking to take the series back to Brooklyn for Game 6. The Heat went on a 12-0 run to take the lead for good, while the Nets missed nine straight shots. Ray Allen hit a huge three-pointer to give Miami a 93-91 lead with 32 seconds remaining.
“Give the Heat credit,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “They were attacking there in the fourth quarter. We were attacking. Both teams were attacking. They made plays, they made shots and we didn’t.”
Joe Johnson led the Nets with 34 points, while Paul Pierce chipped in 19.
Miami will face either the Indiana Pacers or the Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference finals.
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LeBron James Scores 49 to Lead Heat Past Nets

LeBron James Scores 49 to Lead Heat Past Nets

Elsa/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — LeBron James tied his playoff career-high with 49 points to lead the Miami Heat to a 102-96 victory over the Brooklyn Nets Monday, in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal.
The Heat now lead the series 3-1.
James finished the game 16-of-24 from the field.
“My only thing with him, he was going so well in the third quarter we didn’t want him to die out in the fourth,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said of his teammate, James.  “But that guy has an engine that’s second to none so he just continued it going.”
Wade had 15 points in the win.
The Nets tied the game at 94 with 2:30 to play when Kevin Garnett hit two free throws. The game stayed tied until Chris Bosh hit a 3-pointer with 57 seconds remaining to give the Heat the lead for good.
“This is very difficult to swallow,” Nets center Garnett said of the loss. “Hard to take, but it’s what it is. Coulda, shoulda, woulda doesn’t help us at this point.”
Now the Nets are one game away from being ousted from the playoffs. Game 5 is Wednesday in Miami. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Eastern.
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Heat Take Control Late to Clip Nets

Heat Take Control Late to Clip Nets

Chris Trotman/Getty Images(MIAMI) — The Brooklyn Nets were within range of the Miami Heat until they couldn’t get the ball back Thursday night.
The Nets trailed by eight points with 3:39 to play but proceeded to let Miami have a possession that took 1…

Heat Rout Nets to Take 1-0 Series Lead

Heat Rout Nets to Take 1-0 Series Lead

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images(MIAMI) — The Brooklyn Nets went 4-0 against the Miami Heat during the regular season, but all that went out the window on Tuesday night.
LeBron James scored 22 points as the Heat routed the Nets 107-86 to take a 1-0 lead in t…

Heat Sweep Charlotte, Advance to Second Round

Heat Sweep Charlotte, Advance to Second Round

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — LeBron James scored 31 points, with 19 coming after suffering a thigh bruise in the third, to lift the Heat to a 109-98 win over Charlotte in Game Four. Miami has now swept the series with the Bobcats and…

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