Monday, September 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Spurs trounce Heat again

LEBRON JAMES HAD a pained expression on his face during warmups, left the court for a trip to the locker room just before tipoff and retreated there again in the first quarter.

He was clearly not feeling his best.

His teammates weren't making him feel much better, either.

James' final numbers from Game 4 of the NBA Finals looked stellar on paper: 28 points, 10-for-17 shooting, 4-for-8 from three-point range, and eight rebounds. That alone just wasn't anywhere near enough, and the Miami Heat are now in a colossal amount of trouble - the sort from which no team has ever successfully emerged before.

The Heat trail this title series 3-1 now, having been embarrassed at home once again by the San Antonio Spurs, who took command from the outset and beat Miami, 107-86, last night. Game 5 is in San Antonio on Sunday night, when the reign of James and the Heat atop the NBA could end by being denied a third straight championship.

No team in NBA Finals history has ever blown a 3-1 lead. And the Spurs haven't as much as lost three straight games since January.

The Spurs, who were led by Kawhi Leonard's 20 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks and three steals, took control with balance, eight players scoring in the first quarter alone. And all 13 Spurs scored.

The Heat? Miami didn't have anyone besides James reach double figures in scoring until 7:37 remained, and by then there were streams of Miami fans filing out of the arena, quite possibly for the final time this season, maybe even for the final time in this "Big 3" era.

James came to Miami seeking help to win titles, and that decision got him two rings so far.

But the help was nowhere to be found in Game 4.

* Dwyane Wade missed nine of his first 10 shots, finishing 3-for-13 from the field for 10 points. He has played in 151 playoff games. He has shot worse than 3-for-13 in only three of them.

* Chris Bosh was 5-for-11, good for 12 points.

* Mario Chalmers' epic struggles continued with a four-point night, which gave him 14 for the four-game series. For comparison's sake, Spurs backup point guard Patty Mills had 14 points in his first 14 minutes of action in Game 4.


* The Cavaliers' exhaustive head coaching search is expanding - again. The team will interview former Maccabi Tel Aviv coach David Blatt, a person familiar with the team's plans told the Associated Press yesterday.

Also, the Cavaliers have reached out to former Golden State head coach Mark Jackson,according to ESPN. Cavs general manager David Griffin telephoned Jackson several days ago and the two spoke, but no formal interview has been scheduled and it is unclear how serious the Cavs' interest in Jackson is, sources said.

*  Michael Jordan has reached billionaire status. Forbes Magazine estimated that Jordan's equity as owner of the NBA's Charlotte Hornets is $416 million and his net worth outside of the team to be $600 million. It reported Jordan now owns 89.5 percent of the Hornets. Jordan's spokeswoman Estee Portnoy confirmed to the Associated Press that Jordan purchased an additional stake in the Hornets in January of 2013, but wouldn't say how much.

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