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THE STORY: The Miami Heat had more trouble without Chris Bosh than they had anticipated. After handily winning Game 1 without Bosh for the second half, the Heat came into Game 2 feeling good about their chances. The Indiana Pacers made them reconsider, going strong to the inside and playing tougher throughout the second half to even the series at a game apiece. The Pacers will be looking to take the lead at home in Game 3 on Thursday night.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT THE HEAT: Bosh was ruled out indefinitely with an abdominal strain and Miami used a smaller lineup at points in Game 2, moving LeBron James to the power forward spot. But the supporting cast was not able to pick up enough of the slack, leaving James and Dwyane Wade to handle the bulk of the scoring and playmaking. The focus of heavy defensive pressure and a series of hard fouls, James and Wade wore down at the end. After leading the Heat back from a double-digit deficit, Wade missed four shots in the final 2:05 and James clanked two free throws that would have given them the lead with 54 seconds left. The two were so out of gas that Mario Chalmers ended up taking the final shot with Miami down by three. James and Wade combined for 52 points but no other Heat player managed more than five.
ABOUT THE PACERS: Indiana handled things just about as well as they possibly could in Game 2 and still had to sweat out a 78-75 win. Roy Hibbert, David West and Paul George controlled the glass but the Pacers still need to get more offensively from Danny Granger, who expended most of his energy on the defensive end against Wade and James. Granger ended up fouling out with 11 points on 5-of-14 shooting and is just 6 for 24 from the field in the series. Indiana could stand to give Hibbert more of a chance on the offensive end, as he had just six field goal attempts in Game 2 despite Miami not having Bosh around to defend.
- The Heat are 4-1 ATS in their last five games in Indiana.
- The Pacers are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games as a home underdog.
- The under is 35-14-2 in the Heat's last 51 overall.
1. Game 3 will mark James’ 100th career playoff outing.
2. Miami PG Norris Cole played 17 minutes Tuesday, just shy of his total from the previous six playoff games.
3. The Pacers committed 17 turnovers in Game 2 and have totaled 32 through the first two games.
Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio Spurs (-11, 194)
THE STORY: One game does not decide a postseason series, but the San Antonio Spurs continued to display an aura of invincibility in methodically dismantling the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. It was the 15th consecutive victory for the Spurs, who can take a 2-0 series lead over the visiting Clippers on Thursday night. San Antonio has scored more than 100 points in 14 of the past 15 games and set a franchise playoff record with 13 3-pointers Tuesday.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS: Whether Los Angeles can disrupt the Spurs’ precision offense remains a question, but there is no doubt the Clippers will be facing a short series without better play from Chris Paul. The All-Star point guard, battling a hip flexor strain, managed only six points in Game 1 and was scoreless over the final three quarters. Paul did have 10 assists and five steals, but he also committed five turnovers and missed his last nine shots. Blake Griffin (knee) had 15 points and nine rebounds, but played fewer than 29 minutes for the second straight game and admitted he was feeling “80 percent.” The silver lining was the play of reserve guard Eric Bledsoe, who tied his career high with 23 points.
ABOUT THE SPURS: The Clippers could not stop Tim Duncan, but perhaps the Sports Illustrated jinx can. Duncan, who appears on the cover of this week’s issue, was magnificent in Game 1 with 26 points and 10 rebounds – his 133rd postseason double-double. It was the highest output in the playoffs for the 36-year-old Duncan since he scored 29 in May 2010. Veteran Manu Ginobili, another of San Antonio’s old guard, came off the bench to score 22 points and was among three Spurs players to hit three 3-pointers. One of the intriguing subplots of the series is the much-ballyhooed matchup at point guard between Paul and Tony Parker. Like Paul, Parker struggled in the opener with seven points on 1-for-9 shooting, though he had a game-high 11 assists.
- Over is 13-3-2 in the last 18 meetings in San Antonio.
- The Clippers are 3-7-2 ATS in their last 12 games overall.
- Spurs are 21-4-1 ATS in their last 26 home games.
1. Spurs C Boris Diaw grabbed 12 rebounds – his second-highest total of the season – to help his team dominated the backboards 47-34.
2. Clippers G Nick Young nailed all three 3-point attempts and had 13 points, helping Los Angeles to a 46-37 edge in bench scoring.
3. San Antonio is averaging 110.8 points during its 15-game winning streak.
Thursday’s betting tips: Heat-Pacers line flip-flops
Weather to watch
St. Louis Cardinals at San Francisco Giants – 17 mph winds are expected to blow out to centerfield.
NBA: The under is 6-2 in Pacers last eight overall.
NBA: The Spurs are now 13-1-1 ATS in their last 15.
NHL: The Kings are 10-3 in their last 13 home games.
MLB: The Marlins were 11-3 in their last 14 overall ahead of Wednesday's action.
NBA: The Heat are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games.
NBA: The Clippers are 3-7-2 ATS in their last 12 games overall.
NHL: Coyotes are 3-8 in their last 11 meetings with Los Angeles.
MLB: The Rockies are 2-9 in their last 11 overall ahead of Wednesday's action.
13 – The San Antonio Spurs hit 13 3-pointers in Game 1’s win over the Clippers, draining 52 percent of their attempts from outside. The Spurs were the top outside shooting team in the regular season (39.3 percent) and are tops in the playoffs at 43.4 percent.
Injury that shouldn’t be overlooked
Austin Jackson, Detroit Tigers - Jackson left Wednesday's game in the fifth inning with an abdominal strain and is expected to sit out for at least a game or two. He's hitting .323 with three homers, 16 RBI and six stolen bases.
Game of the day
Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers (1, 182)
“They scored a lot, but we stopped everyone else. We never felt like we were the underdogs, you know. This is business as usual.” – Indiana’s Danny Granger on shutting down Miami’s role players in Game 2’s win. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 52 points but no other Heat player had more than five. The Pacers are still set as +300 underdogs to win this series with Miami.
Notes and tips
The Miami Heat opened as 1-point underdogs for Game 3 in Indiana after dropping Game 2 78-75, but the line didn’t hold for very long. By Wednesday evening, the Heat were pegged as 1-point favorites. Miami has covered in four of its last five trips to Indiana.
Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan and defenseman Derek Morris avoided further discipline after throwing questionable hits in Game 2’s loss to the Los Angeles Kings. Forward Martin Hanzal wasn’t so lucky. He was suspended one game for hitting Kings captain Dustin Brown from behind. The Coyotes are pegged as +175 underdogs on the road.
Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie was suspended by Major League Baseball for four games Wednesday following a run-in with umpire Bill Miller. Lawrie also was fined an undisclosed amount of money for what was termed “aggressive actions” towards Miller, including throwing a helmet near Miller during the ninth inning of Tuesday night’s game at Rogers Centre against the visiting Tampa Bay Rays. The Blue Jays are appealing the suspension and Lawrie was in the lineup Wednesday night.
The Heat look to bounce back from their 78-75 loss in Game 2 and build on their 5-1 ATS record in their last 6 games following an ATS defeat. Miami is the pick (-1) according to Dunkel, which has the Heat favored by 3. Dunkel Pick: Miami (-1). Here are all of today's picks
THURSDAY, MAY 17
Time Posted: 7:30 a.m. EST
Game 517-518: Miami at Indiana (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Miami 124.709; Indiana 121.723
Dunkel Line & Total: Miami by 3; 177
Vegas Line & Total: Miami by 1; 181 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Miami (-1); Under
Game 519-520: LA Clippers at San Antonio (9:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Clippers 120.630; San Antonio 135.659
Dunkel Line & Total: San Antonio by 15; 198
Vegas Line & Total: San Antonio by 11; 194
Dunkel Pick: San Antonio (-11); Over