INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Miami is heading home with one gigantic headache: Roy Hibbert.
Forty-eight hours after figuring out how to contest the Indiana Pacers in the middle, Miami is back to square one. Hibbert finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds, helping the Pacers end the game on a 16-6 run to pull away for a 99-92 victory and even the Eastern Conference finals.
Four-time MVP LeBron James watched the end from the sideline after fouling out, then insisted it was no time for the defending champs to fret.
“We were able to come here and regain home court,” James said after scoring 24 point on 8-of-18 shooting. “We feel good about that. It’s a three-game series with two on our home floor, if needed.”
Miami needs to get the one Thursday night. A loss would give Indiana a chance to eliminate the Heat with a win at home in Game 6 — not that anyone in South Florida is ready to ponder that possibility just yet.
But over three of the first four games in this best-of-seven series, Indiana and Hibbert have exposed a glaring problem in Miami’s ability to defend the post.
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Suns connect with their past by hiring Hornacek
PHOENIX (AP) — One of the most popular Phoenix Suns players from the franchise’s past will guide the team to an uncertain future.
At the news conference on Tuesday announcing his hiring as Suns coach, Jeff Hornacek spoke at length about his readiness for the job and the influences that will guide him.
“I’ve always felt that I’ve been a coach,” he said. “My dad was a coach, so I’ve been around basketball since I was 5 years old.”
Hornacek played the first six of his 14 NBA seasons with the Suns. He was traded to Philadelphia in the Charles Barkley deal, then went to Utah, where he found great success as the backcourt teammate of John Stockton. Hornacek retired from playing to spend more time with his family, then eased into coaching, first as a shooting instructor in Utah, then since 2011 as a full-time assistant with the Jazz.
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Tim Duncan focused on winning his 5th NBA title
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Tim Duncan is so close to his first NBA championship in six long years that the Spurs star isn’t worried about the little issue of being rusty once the finals actually start.
“My sole focus is trying to get this done, trying to get another championship,” Duncan said. “I don’t care records; I don’t care age. I don’t care any of that stuff. I just want to do what I have to do to try to win a championship.”
San Antonio ended its six-year drought between NBA Finals by finishing a sweep of the Memphis Grizzlies 93-86 on Monday night for its fifth Western Conference title. The first sweep in a conference final since the Nets beat Detroit in 2003 also earned the Spurs a nine-day break before Game 1 of the finals June 6.