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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pacers even up series

James, Wade both miss late chances for Bosh-less Heat

AP

MIAMI — This does not sound like a winning formula. Miss 24 of 29 shots in one stretch, on the road. Watch an 11-point second-half lead turn into a deficit. Have your entire team get outscored by two players in the fourth quarter.

News photo
All square: Indiana's George Hill looks for an opening past Miami's Dwyane Wade during the Pacers' 78-75 Eastern Conference semifinal win on Tuesday. The series is tied at 1-1. AP

Somehow, it worked for the Indiana Pacers.

And with one part of the Big Three gone, the Miami Heat might have a very big problem.

David West scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and the Pacers took home-court advantage away from Miami by beating the Heat 78-75 in Game 2 of the teams' Eastern Conference semifinal series Tuesday night — after LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both came up short on key opportunities in the final minute.

"Defense and rebounding," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "We built this team, we started talking about smash-mouth basketball about winning the war in the trenches, and that's with defense and rebounding. That's what I grew up watching Eastern Conference basketball being like. We understand offense is going to come and go, especially like a great defensive team like these guys . . . but we're pretty good too."

The series is tied at 1-1, with Game 3 in Indianapolis on Thursday night.

James scored 28 points for Miami and Wade finished with 24, though both failed to convert big chances late. James missed two free throws with 54.3 seconds left and Miami down one, and Wade was short on a layup that would have tied the game with 16 seconds remaining. Moments later, a few of the Pacers were leaping in celebration at midcourt of Miami's floor, something that Wade said was noticed afterward.

"The game is not lost or won with two free throws," James said. "But I definitely want to come through for my teammates. So I'll get an opportunity again. I know I'll be at the line again in that situation. Just go up and make 'em."

Miami was without Chris Bosh, who's sidelined indefinitely — almost certainly the rest of the series, possibly longer if the Heat advance — after he strained a lower abdominal muscle in Game 1.

Spurs 108, Clippers 92

In San Antonio, Tim Duncan had 26 points and 10 rebounds and the Spurs, recharged after a weeklong layoff, wore down the busy Clippers to win Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals series.

Playing for the sixth time in 11 days, Los Angeles gave San Antonio its toughest first half of the playoffs before fading fast. And unlike their stunning Game 1 comeback at Memphis in the first round, the Clippers didn't have the wind this time.

Manu Ginobili added 22 points for the Spurs, who've won 15 in a row. It's the longest winning streak sustained in the NBA playoffs since the 2004 Spurs won 17 straight.

"It's the playoffs. It's going to be physical. We knew that coming in," Duncan said. "We just expected to attack the basket as much as possible."

Eric Bledsoe led the Clippers with 23 points.

Game 2 is Thursday night.

That gives the beat-up and banged-up Clippers one full day of rest — which is all the time they've had to recover between games for the past week and a half.



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