The Pacers got off to a great start in Miami in game three as the Heat could not hit the broad side of a barn in the first eight minutes of the game, and exacerbated that by turning the ball over like it was covered in vaseline. The Pacers led at one point 19-5 before the Heat pulled themselves together and got back into it.
The second quarter featured an amped up Heat defense that forced several Pacers turnovers, while Dwyane Wade and LeBron James began to find their offensive rhythm. For the Pacers, they were getting the job done inside, as Roy Hibbert, David West, and Luis Scola took turns abusing the Heat's interior defense. But by halftime, the Heat closed to within four points in a low scoring game, 42-38.
Miami took control in the 3rd quarter, outscoring the Pacers 33-22 behind an early run by Wade and a late one by James as the Heat defense continued to pressure Indiana into bad shots and turnovers. A three at the buzzer by Wade pushed the Heat advantage to seven, and the Pacers were never able to get back in front. After getting as close as two points, three Ray Allen threes midway through the quarter gave the Heat the cushion they needed to close things out.
Lance Stephenson has emerged as the most important player in this series for the Pacers (which probably isn't a good thing) as he has taken over most of the playmaking responsibility for the team. They are using him as the pick and roll ball handler, and he's got the ball in his hands more than any other Pacer. He's playing very well, but the Pacers aren't getting enough from Paul George to win. George came alive in the 4th quarter, but it was too little to late. On the other side, the Heat's 2-1 lead is masking the disappearing act by Chris Bosh, who seems content to drift on the perimeter, and is not having any impact on the series. He's also struggling defensively. It might be enough to get by the Pacers, but the Heat need to be firing on all cylinders to win another title.
Game four is set for Monday night.
Spurs at Thunder
The Spurs take a 2-0 lead to Oklahoma City tonight for game three of the Western Conference Finals. The Spurs have been brutally efficient on offense this entire post-season, and particularly in this series as they are shooting 54% from the field and 45% from three while turning it over only 10 times a game. It's very tough to beat a team playing that well with the ball. Their ball and player movement has been spectacular, and has left the Thunder waving at air.
For the Thunder, they are hoping to get their defensive star back for game three, as Serge Ibaka has been upgraded to day-to-day (insert joke here). He did not practice yesterday, however, and it remains unclear if he will play tonight, or how effective he can be if he does. Meanwhile, nobody on the Thunder have stepped up to help take the load off their two stars, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, which has allowed the Spurs to swarm Durant especially and make things very difficult on him.
If nothing changes in Oklahoma City, this could be a very short series.
The Lynx moved to 4-0 last night with an 87-82 home win over the New York Liberty. They played the game after arriving back in Minneapolis at 11 am following their game last night in Tulsa.
If you aren't paying attention to the Lynx, you're missing something special, as Maya Moore became the first player in WNBA history to record four straight games with 30 or more points. She is killing it right now--clearly the best player in the world. She's some sort of bizarre cross between Kevin Durant and George Gervin, and she can't be stopped. She's raining threes on people like precipitation is her responsibility, and she gets out on the break like a runaway train.
The pattern has been set for the Lynx, as they once again got out to a big first quarter lead, only to see it disappear as the bench came in the game. They are so thin right now with three rotation players out with injury that they are just hanging on. Along with Moore, Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen are carrying things, but this is not a young team, and they can't risk getting worn out early.
Real Madrid won their 10th European Championship yesterday over cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid in compelling fashion. Atletico, seeking a double with the La Liga title already in hand, took the lead from a header following a corner late in the first half when Real keeper Iker Casillas misjudged the ball and came too far off his line.
Atletico held on through the 2nd half as Real pushed for the equalizer, and it looked like it wouldn't come. But in injury time, Sergio Ramos headed one home to even the match, and Real dominated extra time as Atletico ran out of gas. Gareth Bale headed home the winner with about 12 minutes remaining, and Real added two more against an exhausted Atletico that gave everything they had but came up short.
Now we get ready for the World Cup, which starts in less than three weeks.
David Joerger met with Glen Taylor yesterday and has returned to Memphis to talk to his family.
After meeting with #TWolves, including owner Glen Taylor, Dave Joerger is heading back to Memphis to take it all in. He's in driver's seat— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) May 25, 2014
Reportedly it went well, and things are on track for him to become the next Wolves head coach. They still need to negotiate a contract with him and compensation with the Grizzlies, but it seems like Joerger is the choice.
Taylor seemed pleased with easy rapport he had with a fellow small-town Minnesotan, even if he & Joerger are from different generations— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) May 25, 2014
It looks essentially as if only two issues remain to be (simultaneously) addressed: Contract terms, potential compensation.— Dan Barreiro (@DanBarreiroKFAN) May 24, 2014
Today in History
1521: Edict of Worms outlaws Martin Luther and his followers
1659: Richard Cromwell resigns as Lord Protector of England
1738: Conojocular War between Pennsylvania and Maryland ends with treaty, though border dispute lasts until 1767.
1784: Jews expelled from Warsaw
1787: Constitutional Convention opens in Philadelphia
1878: Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore premieres in London
1911: Revolution in Mexico overthrows President Porfirio Diaz
1946: Jordan gains independence from Britain
Today's musical birthday is the soprano Beverly Sills, born in 1929 (d. 2007).
I hope your Sunday is relaxing. What's going on?