Monday, February 19, 2018
Sports

Spurs playing with machine-like perfection

MIAMI — The Spurs left Miami last June looking so human, Tim Duncan nearly in tears talking about how close they were to another title.

They don't look human now. They look like a machine.

Up 3-1 and shooting the ball at a level never seen in the NBA Finals, the Spurs headed home with a chance to wrap things up on Sunday night in Game 5.

The Heat, which was able to deny the Spurs last year, has a day to figure out what can possibly be done to do it again.

"They're a high-oil machine, and they move the ball extremely well," Miami's LeBron James said. "They put you in so many difficult positions. If you're not right on time, right on target, they're going to make you pay for it."

Led by Kawhi Leonard's 20 points and 14 rebounds, the Spurs dominated the Heat 107-86 in Game 4 Thursday night. James had 28 points and eight rebounds for the Heat, but Dwyane Wade was just 3-for-13 for 10 points.

The Spurs won by 19 and 21 in the two games in Miami and are shooting 54.2 percent in the series. The Finals record for a series is 52.7 percent. No team has overcome a 3-1 deficit in the finals.

Duncan said the memory of losing 4-3 to the Heat in last season's Finals would "definitely come up" before Sunday.

"As I said, we know the caliber team they are, and we have a lot of respect for what they're able to do," Duncan said. "They're able to throw it into another gear and they're going to do just that. They don't want this to be done."

Individual players get hot all the time. The Spurs are on a teamwide hot streak. Leonard had a career-high, 29-point night in Game 3, and Boris Diaw had eight points, nine rebounds and nine assists in Game 4.

"I just think we're playing Spurs basketball," San Antonio guard Tony Parker said.

"We're just moving the ball, and we're just playing the way we've been playing all season. We'd like to do a 'good to great,' the extra pass, and we preach that, and right now we're clicking."

Sterling reportedly hires investigators

LOS ANGELES — Clippers owner Donald Sterling has hired four companies to dig up embarrassing information about league executives and fellow team owners, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The newspaper reported that investigators have uncovered allegations of racial discrimination by league officials. Sterling plans to use their findings to bolster a lawsuit that seeks up to $1 billion in damages against the league. Each of the four firms has been told it can bill up to $50,000 to produce results over the next 30 days, the paper said.

Commissioner Adam Silver issued a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine against Sterling in late April after his critical remarks about African Americans became public.

HORNETS SHAKE-UP: Rod Higgins stepped down as president of basketball operations. Rich Cho will remain as general manager and assume Higgins' duties. Charlotte has the ninth, 24th and 45th overall picks in the upcoming draft and more than $13 million to spend under the salary cap.

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