Thursday, April 26, 2018
Sports

Spurs rout Heat, take 3-1 NBA Finals lead

MIAMI — Kawhi Leonard had 20 points and 14 rebounds, and the Spurs dominated the Heat again in a 107-86 victory Thursday night to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals on Thursday.

Tony Parker added 19 points for the Spurs, who can win their fifth championship with a victory at home in Game 5 on Sunday.

LeBron James had 28 points and eight rebounds for the Heat, but Dwyane Wade was just 3-for-13 from the field (and 4-of-8 from the free-throw line) for 10 points as the Heat was routed at home for the second straight game.

The Heat would have to become the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the Finals to win their third straight championship.

Only eight teams have rallied from a 3-1 series deficit in any series in the history of the NBA.

And the last time it happened was 2006.

LeBron James scored 28 for Miami.

Trying to take a 3-1 lead back home, the Spurs shot 56 percent and led by as much as 22 points against the Heat, who looked powerless to slow San Antonio's ball movement.

Not quite as sharp as when they shot a Finals-record 75.8 percent in first half Tuesday night.

The Spurs were still plenty good enough to open another huge lead before a Miami crowd that was booing the home team in the final minutes of the second quarter.

The Spurs knew their defense had to be better, realizing their once-in-a-lifetime, 19-for-21 start in Tuesday's 111-92 rout covered the fact that they allowed Miami to make more than 50 percent in the game.

The defense was definitely improved during the first half, holding Miami to 12-of-34 shooting (35 percent).

At the end of their fourth straight season that went the distance, the Heat looked as if they might be running out of gas.

The Spurs missed their first three shots after needing 22 attempts to miss three times Tuesday.

They quickly got untracked from there, running off a 13-2 spurt to open a nine-point lead. That was the margin when they went to the second quarter ahead 26-17.

San Antonio scored the first five of the second, capped by Danny Green's 3-pointer, to make it 31-17. And the Spurs blew it open later in the quarter with seven straight points capped by Leonard's soaring follow dunk that made it 55-33.

Around the league: The Cavaliers will interview David Blatt, formerly the coach of Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv, for its coaching vacancy, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Associated Press reported. Blatt said Thursday that he's leaving the European champion to pursue a job in the NBA. He didn't disclose details. The Cavaliers also have reached out to Mark Jackson, fired by Golden State late month, espn.com reported. … Carmelo Anthony's contract gives him until June 23 to declare he will become an unrestricted free agent, espn.com reported. Otherwise, he will become an unrestricted free agent after 2014-15.

Comments
For starters: Rays at Orioles, looking to make it a six-pack of W’s

For starters: Rays at Orioles, looking to make it a six-pack of W’s

The Rays take on the Orioles again tonight looking to extend their winning streak to six, which would be their longest since a nine-game streak under Joe Maddon in 2014.And they will send their top starter, RHP Chris Archer, to the mound looking ...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Valdes-Scantling gives his heart, soul and back to USF

Valdes-Scantling gives his heart, soul and back to USF

Though his career at USF ended only four months ago, rangy WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling already is giving back to his alma mater.By giving it his back.Valdes-Scantling, projected as a Saturday selection in this weekend's NFL draft, tweeted a photo sho...
Updated: 2 hours ago
2018 NFL draft: How Saquon Barkley could fall to the Bucs and why they shouldn’t take him

2018 NFL draft: How Saquon Barkley could fall to the Bucs and why they shouldn’t take him

There is "mounting belief" in NFL circles that the Browns are going to choose quarterback Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick tonight, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.If that happens, that increases the likelihood of running back Saquon Bark...
Updated: 3 hours ago
A look at the baseball world’s reaction to Venters comeback with Rays

A look at the baseball world’s reaction to Venters comeback with Rays

We tried to explain on Wednesday just how big a deal it was that the Rays were bringing LHP Jonny Venters back to the majors for the first time since his Braves days in 2012. And that it was not only a credit to how hard he worked and how long he per...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays morning after: Cobb still searching

Rays morning after: Cobb still searching

The 12 years he spent in the Rays organization, and the seven seasons he was around the big-league team, mean the world to Alex Cobb.But Wednesday he wasn't in the mood for memories.After a third straight outing for his new Orioles team ended badly, ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
After Bucs’ second-round pick, they face a historically bad situation

After Bucs’ second-round pick, they face a historically bad situation

Say Saquon Barkley, Bradley Chubb and Quenton Nelson are gone by the time the Bucs are up to make the seventh overall pick tonight at the NFL draft.What should they do? Take a defensive back? Trade down and acquire more picks?Here's some ammunition f...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Bucs fill a need at running back on the first day of the draft…but it’s Charles Sims, who agrees to a 1-year deal

Bucs fill a need at running back on the first day of the draft…but it’s Charles Sims, who agrees to a 1-year deal

The Bucs landed a running back on the first day of the NFL draft.It wasn't Saquon Barkley or Sony Michel or Derrius Guice. Not just yet, anyway.Tampa Bay reached an agreement on a one-year contract with Charles Sims.The 27-year-old Sims was a third-r...
Updated: 5 hours ago
The Lightning is fun, but does its playoff run translate into dollars for Tampa?

The Lightning is fun, but does its playoff run translate into dollars for Tampa?

TAMPA — As the Tampa Bay Lightning wait for the Boston Bruins to come to town for the next round of playoffs, the city’s business community — large and small — say they’ve already won this NHL postseason.At WestShore Plaza this week, with blue and wh...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 8-4 win over Orioles

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 8-4 win over Orioles

Marc Topkin's takeaways from the Rays 8-4 win over the Orioles on Wednesday:* RHP Alex Cobb is going to be Alex Cobb again. But it seemed clear from watching him against his old Rays mates he's not quite ready yet, the result of signing in late March...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Three things to know about new Land O’Lakes football coach Chad Walker

Three things to know about new Land O’Lakes football coach Chad Walker

Chad Walker, 34, is the new football coach at Land O'Lakes, inheriting a team that went 4-5 under Brian Wachtel in 2017. Walker played college football at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., from 2002-05. He didn't move to Florida until Jan. 1, 20...
Updated: 6 hours ago