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Spurs shaken as NBA Finals shifts to San Antonio

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POSTED June 11, 2013 2:03 a.m.

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili sat in mostly stunned silence, all that playoff experience not preparing them for how they felt after two games.

They were satisfied, yet shaken.

The San Antonio Spurs had taken home-court advantage away from the Miami Heat, but then the reigning champions took them apart.

So as they prepared to bring the NBA Finals back home for the first time in seven years, the veterans struggled with how they were supposed to sum up their situation.

Getting one in South Florida was an accomplishment, but nothing that provided them any momentum after the Heat’s 103-84 victory Sunday in Game 2.

“Not after tonight. I think they regained that,” Duncan said. “Obviously we were glad to win a game here in Game 1. Our goal was to get two. But they got the one tonight. We get to go back home. We got a game here. We have three at home, so we’re excited about that. But if we play like we did tonight, that’s not going to matter.”

The teams took Monday off, with the series resuming Tuesday night. The Spurs will also host Game 4 on Thursday and Game 5 on Sunday.

The finals were once as much a part of June as the heat in this city deep in the heart of Texas. San Antonio won four titles in a nine-year span starting in 1999, but hasn’t hosted a game in the NBA’s championship round since the Spurs took a 2-0 lead over LeBron James and Cleveland in 2007.

Here comes James again, needing to win one here — which hasn’t been easy for Miami — and not concerned that the finals’ 2-3-2 format now gives the advantage to the Spurs.

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “Two best teams in the NBA at this point. Both teams have won and can win on each other’s floor. So it’s not a biggie.”

The Heat are just 3-22 in San Antonio, though they did win this year even while James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers sat out the late-season meeting.

James had no cause for concern after Game 2, which validated his belief that he can depend on his teammates until he gets rolling, as he did late in the third quarter and well into the fourth.

• • •

Detroit Pistons hire Maurice Cheeks as new coach
: DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Pistons have hired former 76ers and Trail Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks.

The team announced the move Monday night.

Detroit fired Lawrence Frank in April, a day after the once-proud franchise finished 29-53. Frank was 54-94 in two seasons with the Pistons.

Cheeks was 284-286 in the regular season and 5-11 in the playoffs as coach of the Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trail Blazers.

• • •

Lionel Hollins out as Memphis Grizzlies coach
: (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies have decided to part with the winningest coach in the franchise’s history, telling Lionel Hollins they will not be renewing his contract as head coach coming off their first trip to the Western Conference finals.

Hollins confirmed Monday night to The Associated Press that he had been told his contract would not be renewed. He had no further comment.

• • •

Ex-NBA star in jail, charged in fatal Ga. crash
: JONESBORO, Ga. (AP) — Former NBA All-Star Daron “Mookie” Blaylock is out of the hospital and in jail, charged with vehicular homicide in a car crash south of Atlanta.

Blaylock is also charged with driving on a suspended license, making an improper lane change and crossing the median in the head-on crash that killed a 43-year-old woman in Jonesboro on May 31. Blaylock surrendered Monday and is being held without bond.

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