Sunday, January 21, 2018
Sports

Spurs try to drop Heat in rare 2-0 hole

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The Spurs are on an unprecedented postseason roll that not even a boatload of turnovers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals could stop.

They probably ruined Tim Duncan's hopes of a career change, though.

Duncan wants to be a point guard, coach Gregg Popovich revealed Saturday, a wish that won't be granted. But Duncan would gladly settle for another championship, and the Spurs would be halfway there by beating Miami tonight in Game 2.

The Spurs have won eight straight postseason home games by 15 or more points, an NBA record, but know as well as anyone that a one-game lead means nothing against the Heat.

"That's why I think we can't be satisfied," said point guard Tony Parker, who isn't worried about losing his job to Duncan, "because we were in the same situation (last year), and we know they can win here."

LeBron James expects to be fully ready for the Heat, who also dropped the opener last year in the Finals against the Spurs, and in 2012 to Oklahoma City. Miami is 5-0 in series with James when dropping the opener, rebounding to win Game 2 every time.

A 2-0 deficit would surely bring loads of unwanted attention to what's already one of the most scrutinized players and teams in sports.

"I'm sure the series would be over from the outside," Heat guard Dwyane Wade joked. "Our focus is on how we can win … and understand in the series it's the first one to four, not the first one to one, not the first one to two, not the first one to three. You win a series by being the first one to four. We understand the journey, we understand the path and what it takes to get there."

The Heat was in position to win Game 1 before James departed with cramps. The Spurs committed 23 turnovers that not only led to 28 Miami points but also prevented them from getting the ball more often to Duncan, who was 9-of-10 from the field.

Popovich said Duncan never demands more shots, even when he is in a good rhythm.

"No, the only thing Timmy has ever demanded is he wants to play the point, and he thinks I've held him back," Popovich said.

Duncan is one of the best power forwards in NBA history but likes to think like a little guy, though he realizes he hurt his chances of getting to actually play the part of one. "After my five turnovers the other night, I think I took a step back from that," he said. "I don't think that I'm going to be able to step up and fill that role for a little while."

Clippers: Co-owner Shelly Sterling would remain close to the organization under terms of the pending sale to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the Associated Press reported. The $2 billion deal allows for up to 10 percent of the team — or $200 million — to be spun off into a charitable foundation that Shelly Sterling would essentially run, the AP said. The deal was negotiated by Shelly after husband Donald's racist remarks were publicized and the NBA moved to oust him as team owner. The idea to allow Shelly to continue some role in the team was floated early on by her attorney and it was enthusiastically agreed to by the NBA, the AP reported, however, the league made clear she wouldn't be involved with the basketball franchise.

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