Miami, San Antonio in Conference Finals
Miami and San Antonio both advanced to the NBA conference finals—but in contrasting fashion, with the Heat storming a Brooklyn lead to pinch a narrow victory, while the Spurs cruised past Portland.
Miami trailed almost the entire game and was eight points down with less than five minutes left, but found a way to pull out a 9694 win that clinched a 4-1 series victory and finals place for the fourth-straight year. The Heat will face either Indiana or Washington.
San Antonio did not require a dramatic late push, who won again comfortably against Portland, with a 104-82 victory, to clinch a 4-1 win, which puts the Spurs in the Western Conference decider for the third successive season. Their opponent will be Oklahoma City or the Los Angeles Clippers. Miami’s Ray Allen scored a 3-pointer with 32 seconds left to cap the memorable comeback, aided by 29 points from LeBron James and 28 from Dwyane Wade. Miami are bidding for a fourth straight trip to the NBA Finals—something only the Lakers and the Celtics have accomplished. James is heading there for the sixth time in eight seasons, the first two of those trips with Cleveland in 2007 and 2009. SanAntoniohadamorerelaxedtimeofit, with Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard each scoring 22 points in the 104-82 win. Patty Mills scored 18 points and Tim Duncan had 16 points and eight rebounds for San Antonio, who had four blowout wins. They remain on track for another NBA Finals showdown against Miami, who won a hardfought seven-game series last season. LaMarcus Aldridge hit 21 points for Portland, while Damian Lillard added 17 points and 10 assists. The Trail Blazers’ benchcontributedjust sevenpoints compared with the 40 by the Spurs reserves.
After playing with various injuries through last postseason, the Spurs were healthy this playoffs until Wednesday. TonyParker,whomissed13gamesinthe regular season, exited in the first half with tightness in his left hamstring. After returning to the court in the second quarter, he left the game exactly a minute later and headed back to the locker room.