The Norman Transcript

National Sports

May 16, 2013

Heat dispatch Bulls

(Continued)

MIAMI —

Miami will open the East finals at home next week, and it’ll be a playoff rematch from its march to the title last season. If Indiana beats New York — the Pacers lead that series 3-1 — on Thursday night, then the Heat and Pacers will meet in Game 1 in Miami on Monday night. If the Knicks extend the Pacers to at least six games, then the East finals would open Wednesday night, regardless of opponent.

The Heat will almost surely be big favorites against either Indiana or New York, though it’s certain either opponent would enter a series against Miami with plenty of confidence. The Knicks went 3-1 against the Heat this season, outscoring them by 11.5 points per game and winning both of their games at Miami convincingly. The Pacers went 2-1 against the Heat, winning twice in Indianapolis and losing their lone game in Miami.

To put that in some more perspective, the Heat went 2-5 against the Knicks and Pacers, and are now 72-12 against all other NBA clubs this season.

“It only gets more difficult and more challenging,” Spoelstra said. “That’s what competitors want.”

Then again, given how Miami has played over the last 3 1/2 months, the notion of the Heat losing to anybody four times might seem downright impossible. The Heat lost at Indiana on Feb. 1. They won at Toronto two days later, the first victory in what became a run of 27 straight wins — and the start of a stretch that has seen Miami go 45-3 in its last 48 games.

More than half the league — 17 of the other 29 teams — didn’t win 45 games, total, this season, even including playoffs.

“They’re a great team. A great team,” Thibodeau said. “They’re not going to beat themselves. You have to beat them.

No one would have thought the ending would be so exciting after the way this one started.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Indians trade Justin Masterson to Cardinals

    CLEVELAND — The Indians had little choice but to give up Justin Masterson. The trade doesn’t mean they’re going to surrender the season....

    July 31, 2014

  • Cowboys sign tackle Smith to 8-year extension

    OXNARD, Calif. — Tyron Smith has a new contract that will probably make him the most important blocker for the next Dallas quarterback after Tony Romo....

    July 31, 2014

  • Quarterback questions abound with big stars gone from SEC offenses

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Quarterback battles and signal-caller questions abound in the Southeastern Conference going into preseason camps around the league. Big names, not so much....

    July 31, 2014

  • Jones says Brent out of rehab, NFL question next

    OXNARD, Calif. — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says former defensive tackle Josh Brent is out of rehabilitation and could have his future with the NFL resolved before the team leaves training camp in California in two weeks....

    July 31, 2014

  • Ives to crew chief for Dale Jr. in 2015

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There was no shortage of candidates to replace Steve Letarte as Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief The list of applicants was long, but Hendrick Motorsports has always liked to groom its own talent. So the organization ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Gustafson wants Gordon’s team focused on Chase

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jeff Gordon viewed his Brickyard 400 win as a turning point for his race team. Confidence had been building with every strong run, but his victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway pushed his crew to another level. It was ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Mercury not thinking streak

    Brittney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury are closing in on one of the greatest records in WNBA history, the Los Angeles Sparks’ 18-game winning streak. To equal that mark, the Mercury need to win two more games, starting with defending ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Hamlin crew chief out 6 races

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR suspended Denny Hamlin’s crew chief and car chief on Tuesday for six races because the Joe Gibbs Racing entry failed inspection following his third-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Darian Grubb and ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Bell focuses on every facet of his game

    LATROBE, Pa. — Le’Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw....

    July 30, 2014

  • Sam factor may ready Rams for sensitivity class

    ST. LOUIS — To guard against another bullying scandal, NFL teams are holding sensitivity sessions during training camp....

    July 30, 2014