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Saturday, May 19, 2012
Hibbert, Pacers destroy Heat to take series lead
INDIANAPOLIS — LeBron James grabbed a seat on Miami's bench, lowered his head and stared down at the floor.
The Heat are in a hole.
Roy Hibbert had 19 points and 18 rebounds, George Hill scored 20 and Danny Granger 17 as the Pacers, showing more balance, toughness and togetherness than favored Miami, throttled the malfunctioning Heat 94-75 on Thursday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Overlooked during the regular season and given little chance to upset the reigning East champions, the Pacers took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Game 4 is Sunday at raucous Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
James scored 22 — 16 in the first half before wearing down — and Mario Chalmers added 25 for Miami. However, Dwyane Wade, banged up and possibly slowed by a more serious injury, scored only 5 on 2-of-13 shooting for the Heat, already missing forward Chris Bosh because of a strained abdominal muscle and not expected to return for this series.
"It's obvious he wasn't himself." James said of Wade. "Does he want to play better? Of course. He's one of the best players in the world."
Wade didn't play like one and he also had an angry exchange during a timeout in the third quarter with coach Erik Spoelstra, who dismissed it as a heat-of-battle incident.
"That happens," Spoelstra said. "Anybody that has been part of a team or has been a coach or been a player, you have no idea how often things like that happen. That was during a very emotional part of the game. We were getting our butt kicked. Those exchanges happen all the time during the course of an NBA season.
"There's going to be a lot of times where guys say something, you don't like it. You get over it and you move on. We're all connected. Dwyane and I have been together for a long time, a long time. We've been through basically everything. A lot of different roles, a lot of different teams. That really is nothing. That is the least of our concern. That type of fire, shoot, that's good. That's the least of our concerns. Our concern is getting ready for Sunday."
Wade wouldn't discuss his dispute with Spoelstra.
Spurs 105, Clippers 88
In San Antonio, Tony Parker scored 22 points on his 30th birthday, Tim Duncan had 18 and the Spurs beat fading Los Angeles, pushing their winning streak to 16 and taking a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series.
Chris Paul responded to his awful Game 1 with only a slightly better encore, scoring 10 points as the Clippers now head home desperate to steer out of what's starting to get the feel of a sweep.
Blake Griffin led Los Angeles with 20 points. His plan to manage his ailing knee so the All-Star would have enough steam for the fourth quarter proved moot, as both teams emptied their benches with another Spurs blowout assured.
The All-Star matchup of Paul vs. Parker went from a Game 1 bust to a lopsided mismatch that may have proved Paul is hurting more than he's letting on. Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro says his star is still struggling with an aching hip and groin, even as Paul insists he's OK.
He again looked anything but. While Parker — the last of the Big Three to finally hit the big 3-0 — celebrated by more than tripling his seven points and dreadful 1-for-9 shooting in Game 1, Paul shot 4 of 9 and had just five assists.