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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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Phil Jackson: ‘Definitely Concerned’ about Carmelo’s Pending Free Agency

Phil Jackson: ‘Definitely Concerned’ about Carmelo’s Pending Free Agency

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(GREENBURGH, N.Y.) — New York Knicks team president Phil Jackson is “definitely concerned” that possible free agent and seven-time All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony will take his game to another team next season.
Anthony could opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent in July, but Jackson said on Friday that he spoke with Anthony about coming back next season and testing free agency in the summer of 2015.
“I told him it might be a good idea to hang in here and see what it’s like for a year and go out the next year,” Jackson said. “But that’s his option, that’s what he’s earned, and that’s what’s part of his contractual agreement. He has the right to do that. But I just offered that as, ‘Look, this gives you an opportunity to see how this is going to change, see how we’re going to get going, your relationship to the team and the coach and the system or whatever, the system we impose.”
Jackson said he remains positive about their chances about bringing back Anthony, but noted it only takes one team to blow Anthony away with an offer.
“It only takes one bidder out there that has the ability and can ruin your hopes and your chances,” Jackson said.
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Former Microsoft Executive Steve Ballmer Wins Bid to Buy Clippers

Former Microsoft Executive Steve Ballmer Wins Bid to Buy Clippers

(LOS ANGELES) — Former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer has won the bidding war to buy the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion, a source tells ABC News. 
This would be a record-price for an NBA team.
The source also says other offers of $1.6 billion and $1.2 billion were turned down.
The deal is not yet final, as suspended owner Donald Sterling will need to sign off on it and NBA owners must also approve.
This move comes only five days before an NBA hearing to vote out Sterling.
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Frank Vogel: Pacers Confidence Shaken by Heat

Frank Vogel: Pacers Confidence Shaken by Heat

Rob Carr/Getty Images(MIAMI) — The Miami Heat are just one win away from their fourth straight trip to the NBA Finals after Monday night’s 102-90 win over the Indiana Pacers.
Pacers head coach Frank Vogel believes his team has a lot to think about before Game 5 on Wednesday night.
“I think anytime you lose three in a row in the playoffs, it shakes your confidence some,” Vogel said on Tuesday. “But we can’t worry about that. All we’ve got to worry about is coming back and winning Game 5 and giving us an opportunity to come down here and win one game.
“We’ve won one game in each playoff series that we’ve played here the last two years. We should have confidence that we can do that.”
The Pacers took Game 1 at home, but have lost three straight. The team will have home court if they’re able to push the series to seven games.
“I think that is when we are at our best, when our back is against the wall,” Pacers guard George Hill said. “We are going to be home in front of our fans and I’m sure they’re going to be going crazy.”
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Ibaka Returns, Thunder Victorious in Game 3

Ibaka Returns, Thunder Victorious in Game 3

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.) — After being dominated in the first two games of the Western Conference Finals, Oklahoma City controlled Game 3 Sunday and handed San Antonio a 106-97 loss. Serge Ibaka returned to the lineup for the Thunder as they closed the series gap to 2-1.
Originally thought lost for the playoffs, Ibaka started the game and recorded 15 points while pulling in seven rebounds and blocking four shots. At times there was a noticeable limp for Ibaka but the 6’10″ power forward provided the spark Oklahoma City needed.
“When you talk about a teammate, that’s everything you want in a teammate,” said teammate Kevin Durant. “I gained so much more respect for Serge for sacrificing himself for the team. Regardless of what happened tonight, that’s something you want beside you.”
After a back-and-forth first quarter that saw the Spurs hold a 29-28 advantage, it was an Ibaka layup that gave the Thunder the lead for good at 38-36 with 7:03 to play in the second. Oklahoma City continued to control tempo, leading by as many as 20 in the fourth quarter.
Freed up by the play of Ibaka, Durant and Russell Westbrook combined to score 51 points while the Thunder defense held San Antonio to less than 40% shooting from the floor. Oklahoma City also dominated the glass, outrebounding the Spurs 52-36 in the game.
“I was very disappointed that we didn’t come out with more of a foot in the neck sort of attitude,” explained Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “They killed us on the boards, they beat us in 50-50 balls and that’s very disappointing to me.”
Manu Ginobli had 23 points off the bench to pace the Spurs’ offense. Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard were the only other players in double figures for San Antonio. Game 4 is Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.
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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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Byron Scott Think He’d be a Perfect Fit for the Lakers

Byron Scott Think He’d be a Perfect Fit for the Lakers

Chris Chambers/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — As the Los Angeles Lakers continue their search for a new head coach, a familiar face hopes to take over the team as Byron Scott has publicly advocated that he hopes to get the job.
Scott spent 11 of his 14-year NBA career with the Lakers, and even was a former teammate of guard Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers have fallen on hard times as of late, and Scott feels that he’s the right man to help get the team back to the postseason.
“I think it’s the best organization in all of basketball,” Scott said. “It would mean a great deal to me, just because of that, No. 1, that I’ve played for this organization. I know what it’s all about. It’s all about winning championships, and No. 2, for Dr. [Jerry] Buss, who was a guy who defended me when I was coaching.”
Scott has been a head coach for the New Jersey Nets as well as the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In 13 seasons as a coach, Scott has gone 416-521.
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Ibaka Upgraded to Day-to-Day for Thunder

Ibaka Upgraded to Day-to-Day for Thunder

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images(OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.) — The Oklahoma City Thunder may have gained a much needed boost prior to Game 3 of their Western Conference Finals with San Antonio. Power forward Serge Ibaka was upgraded to day-to-day and could play on Sunday night.
Ibaka was thought to be out for the rest of the playoffs with a left calf strain but has progressed well enough to potentially play. The Thunder trail the series, 2-0, in two very lopsided games against San Antonio.
“A big part of this is the swelling in his calf has reduced incredibly rapidly, more so than any of us could’ve expected or our medical staff could’ve projected,” said Oklahoma City general manager, Sam Presti. “And as a result of that he’s demonstrating a function level and a stability level that’s better than where we thought we would be.”
Even if he is unable to perform at 100%, the presence of Ibaka alone could play a significant role. The Spurs outscored Oklahoma City by a combined 52 points in the first two games of the series, shooting 78 percent from inside.
While Presti may be optimistic, Thunder head coach Scott Brooks is still preparing to play without his top post defender.
“It’s changed from we thought he was going to be out to now it’s day-to-day, but he’s still out,” Brooks explained. “We’re still focusing on trying to beat the Spurs without him playing, and that has not changed. I know he’s listed as day-to-day, but he’s still out until I’m told differently.”
When in the lineup, Ibaka and the Thunder held San Antonio to 93.0 points per 100 possessions. Oklahoma City won all four meetings between the two teams in the regular season. He originally suffered the injury in the third quarter of the team’s series clinching win over Los Angeles. Game 3 is Sunday night in Oklahoma.
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Report: Ming, Hill Want to Buy Clippers

Report: Ming, Hill Want to Buy Clippers

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Even though the Los Angeles Clippers are not for sale just yet, there is some serious star power rumored to have in interest in purchasing the franchise. 
Sources have told ESPN.com that Grant Hill and Yao Ming are working separately to assemble ownership groups to bid on the Clippers once they are available for purchase. A separate source told ESPN.com that Los Angeles’ embattled owner, Donald Sterling, has agreed to let his wife take control of the impending sale of the team.
A 19-year veteran, Hill retired following the 2012-13 season and has been reportedly been putting together a group to acquire the Clippers. Yao, who expressed heavy interest in buying the Milwaukee Bucks before outgoing owner Herb Kohl said keeping the team in Milwaukee was a requirement.
Among the others rumored to have a desire to own the LA franchise, Magic Johnson and Guggenheim Partners, who combined to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and billionaire Antony Ressler.
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Cavaliers GM Open to Trading Top Pick

Cavaliers GM Open to Trading Top Pick

Christopher Trotman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — With many still in shock that the Cleveland Cavaliers were able to once again land the number one pick in the NBA draft, general manager David Griffin says the team is willing to deal the pick.
With the draft set for June 26, all eyes will be on the Cavaliers to see who the team takes at number one or if it will wind up dealing the pick.
“I actually got calls right afterward, while I was standing there doing media,” Griffin told ESPN Cleveland’s The Really Big Show. “Teams were already reaching out and texting, so I think it will be an active period of time.”
The Cavaliers had just a 1.7 percent chance of landing the top pick.
The team has landed the number one pick three out of the last four years.
Last year, the Cavs selected Anthony Bennett number one overall, but he struggled during his rookie season.
Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid are vying for the top spot this year.
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NBA’s All-Rookie Team Released

NBA’s All-Rookie Team Released

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The NBA released their All-Rookie team Thursday and Philadelphia 76ers point guard Michael Carter-Williams was the only unanimous pick.
Also making the first team was Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo, Utah Jazz guard Trey Burke, Brooklyn Nets center Mason Plumlee, and New York Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr.
The second team was made up of Boston Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk, Milwaukee Bucks guard Giannis Antetokoumpo, Minnesota Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng, Charlotte Bobcats center Cody Zeller, and Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams.
The voting was done by 125 writers and broadcasters in the United States and Canada.
Carter-Williams joined Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson as the only other rookie to average over 16 points, six rebounds, and six assists per game. He went 11th overall in the draft.
Oladipo was the second pick in the draft. He and Burke were the only two players to be named to the All-Rookie team who were selected in the top 10.
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Nets Guard Deron Williams to Undergo Surgery on Both Ankles

Nets Guard Deron Williams to Undergo Surgery on Both Ankles

NBA via Brooklyn Nets(NEW YORK) — Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams will undergo surgery on both ankles next week, the team announced Thursday.
“He will have a bone chip removed from his right ankle, and the left ankle will have an arthroscopic cleanout with removal of spurs from both the front and back of the ankle,” team foot and ankle specialist Dr. Martin O’Malley, who will perform the surgery, said in a statement issued by the team.
For the past two seasons, Williams has been plagued by persistent injuries in both of his ankles. He has received multiple cortisone shots and platelet-rich-plasma injections to help ease the pain, but the problem has not gone away.
Williams averaged just 14.3 points and 6.1 assists in 64 games during the regular season for the Nets, the lowest totals since his rookie year. In 12 playoff games, he averaged 14.5 points and 5.8 assists.  The Nets were eliminated by the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The procedures are scheduled for next Tuesday. The 29-year-old Williams still has three years and $63.1 million remaining on his deal with the Nets.
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Mark Cuban: ‘We’re All Prejudiced in One Way or Another’

Mark Cuban: ‘We’re All Prejudiced in One Way or Another’

Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Reality Rocks(NEW YORK) — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is at it again.
Cuban spoke with INC.com about the recent racial comments made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and said he believes everyone lives with some sort of prejudice.
“In this day and age, this country has really come a long way putting any type of bigotry behind us, regardless of who it’s toward,” Cuban said Wednesday. “We’ve come a long way, and with that progress comes a price. We’re a lot more vigilant and we’re a lot less tolerant of different views, and it’s not necessarily easy for everybody to adapt or evolve.”
“I mean, we’re all prejudiced in one way or another. If I see a black kid in a hoodie and it’s late at night, I’m walking to the other side of the street. And if on that side of the street, there’s a guy that has tattoos all over his face — white guy, bald head, tattoos everywhere — I’m walking back to the other side of the street. And the list goes on of stereotypes that we all live up to and are fearful of. So in my businesses, I try not to be hypocritical. I know that I’m not perfect. I know that I live in a glass house, and it’s not appropriate for me to throw stones,” he continued.
Cuban said during the interview that he hopes there are people that can play an important role in limiting bigotry and prejudice.
“I’ll try to give them a chance to improve themselves, because I think that helping people improve their lives, helping people engage with people they may fear or may not understand, and helping people realize that while we all may have our prejudices and bigotries we have to learn that it’s an issue that we have to control, that it’s part of my responsibility as an entrepreneur to try to solve it, not just to kick the problem down the road,” he said. “Because it does my company no good, it does my customers no good, it does society no good if my response to somebody and their racism and bigotry is to say, ‘It’s not right for you to be here. Go take your attitude somewhere else.’”
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Spurs Crush Thunder 112-77 in Game Two

Spurs Crush Thunder 112-77 in Game Two

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(SAN ANTONIO) –  Danny Green scored 21 points on seven made three-pointers as the San Antonio Spurs routed the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-77 in Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference Finals on Wednesday night.
Tony Parker led San Antonio with 22 points, while Tim Duncan added 14 points and 12 rebounds. Most importantly, the Spurs took a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series. 
“We just did our job. We won our first two games at home and I’m sure they’re going to go back and say we have to do our job and win two games at home,” Parker said.
The Spurs closed the first half on a 25-8 run to take a 58-44 lead into the break. Parker and Green each scored eight points in the third quarter as the San Antonio outscored the Thunder 33-18.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each scored 15 points for the Thunder, but the All-Star duo shot just 13-for-40 from the field. 
“It definitely doesn’t feel good and it shouldn’t,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “I hope our locker doesn’t feel good. You shouldn’t feel good. We got our butts kicked. But we have a good opportunity to come back and win Game 3.”
Game 3 is set for Sunday in Oklahoma City.
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Silver Confident League Is “Doing the Right Thing” with Sterling

Silver Confident League Is “Doing the Right Thing” with Sterling

NBATV/ABC News(NEW YORK) — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke for the first time on Tuesday since banning Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league.
Silver believes the league is doing everything they can to take away ownership of the team from Sterling.
“We know we’re doing the right thing, and I know I have the owners behind me,” Silver said.
The NBA charged Sterling Monday with damaging the league with his racist comments, and set a hearing for June 3.
“I’ll say that we’ve had strong leadership from Glen Taylor, who’s the chairman of our board, and Peter Holt, who just recently stepped down as the former chairman or who had been the former chairman of the board,” Silver said. “We have a very active advisory finance committee, which is 10 NBA owners who have been meeting on a regular basis to discuss these proceedings, and the timing is laid out in the NBA constitution. We’re following it to the letter in terms of numbers of days that Mr. Sterling has to respond and then when the hearing will be held, and as I said, I know we’re doing the right thing here. This is an unprecedented proceeding.”
Sterling has until May 27 to respond to the charge.  If he does not, it will be grounds for termination.
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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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Magic Executive Pat Williams Eagerly Anticipating the Draft Lottery

Magic Executive Pat Williams Eagerly Anticipating the Draft Lottery

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The 2014 NBA Draft is said to be one of the deepest pool of prospects in years. Orlando Magic senior vice president Pat Williams hopes his team can land the top pick in the highly anticipated draft.
This past season, the Magic finished with the third-worst record in the NBA at 23-59. Because of that, they are in prime position to land one of the top players coming out.
“It’s a deep draft, if you don’t get number one your still gonna come away with a very, very good young prospect,” Williams told ABC Sports Radio. “I underline that because all of these guys are very young. Few of them haven’t turned 19 yet so it’s a young crop.”
Players like Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, and Dante Exum are expected to among the top picks in the June draft
In the upcoming draft lottery, the Magic can finish no worse than the sixth pick, but have a 15.6% of getting the number one pick.
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Spurs Rout Thunder to Open Western Conference Finals

Spurs Rout Thunder to Open Western Conference Finals

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(SAN ANTONIO) — Tim Duncan scored 27 points and grabbed seven rebounds as the Spurs dominated the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-105 in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Monday night.
Tony Parker didn’t appear to be limited by the hamstring injury that sidelined him for parts of their series against the Portland Trail Blazers.  He scored 14 points and dished out 12 assists in 36 minutes.
“We always want to try to penetrate,” Parker said. “We always want our ball movement, that’s how we play — kick and pitch and stuff like that. You know, obviously it’s a little bit better with [Serge Ibaka] not being in the paint, but we’re still going to try to penetrate and make stuff happen.”
San Antonio scored 66 points in the paint and shot 58 percent from the field. It was easy work inside for the Spurs, as Oklahoma City was without defensive stalwart Ibaka, who will miss the remainder of the postseason with a calf injury.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined to score 53 points for the Thunder, but the rest of their starting unit struggled for most of the game.
“We’re a no-excuse team,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “Serge is out. He’s not coming back. We have to play better. We have to play better. If we expect to beat one of the best teams in basketball, and a very good offensive team, we have to play and we’re not going to make an excuse.”
Game two will be played on Wednesday night in San Antonio.
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Scott Brooks Thinks the Knicks Should Pursue Derek Fisher

Scott Brooks Thinks the Knicks Should Pursue Derek Fisher

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — With the New York Knicks still searching for a new head coach after Steve Kerr turned them down, Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks thinks that point guard Derek Fisher would be a great fit for the team once the playoffs end.
Fisher’s name has come up among reported coaching targets for the team. He’s still an active player, but is rumored to be retiring following this season.
Brooks thinks that Fisher’s knowledge of the game and his realtionship with Phil Jackson would serve him well in New York.
“Derek will make a great head coach,” Brooks told the New York Daily News on Saturday. “He’s smart, he knows the game and he works hard. He’s also played for one of the greatest coaches in sports history . . . and now I’m not talking about myself by the way.”
The 39-year-old Fisher is in his 18th NBA season. Going from player to coach right away isn’t unheard of, as Jason Kidd played for the New York Knicks last season and became the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets during the offseason.
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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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