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11-30-2017, 10:18 PM
MIAMI -- By now, Lance Stephensons list of egregious acts from Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals are well-known: He blew air into LeBron James ear, interrupted a Miami Heat huddle and got caught flopping for the second time. And on Thursday, the Heat tried to get their focus back on themselves. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra almost never holds a practice the day after a road game, especially when the team plane lands around 3:30 a.m. as was the case in the wee hours of Thursday. But Spoelstra deviated from the norm on the day before Game 6 of this East title series, not for any one on-court issue but rather so the two-time defending NBA champions could relieve some frustration. "Clear heads ... and to connect," Spoelstra said. "We didnt want to leave it all to tomorrow. There were some things we wanted to go over, and for times sake, splitting it up was a little bit more efficient." The Heat still lead the series 3-2, and get the chance to close the Pacers out for the third straight year on Friday night. The game is in Miami, where the Heat have won their last 10 playoff contests. Predictably, the talk on the off day wasnt so much about Paul George scoring 37 points to lead his team to a season-saving win, or even how James was held to seven points on a night that he was rendered silent for long stretches because of foul trouble. Instead, the buzz was almost entirely about Stephenson, who has simultaneously become a Heat frustration and Internet sensation. Images of his already-infamous ear-blowing stunt were widely distributed on social media moments after it occurred in Game 5, and he didnt back down Thursday when asked about his desire to pester the Heat. "Just playing ball, man, having fun and enjoying the moment," Stephenson said. Spoelstra didnt react when Stephenson -- who said James was showing signs of "weakness" earlier in the series -- crashed the Heat huddle. Much like his players, Spoelstra didnt bite when asked about the excitable Pacer guards attempts to throw Miami off its game. "Very bizarre game," Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. "Weird game. But its over." Indiana coach Frank Vogel didnt seem to mind the huddle move, though suggested the ear-blowing decision was a bit much. "People are in my huddle all the time. Every player in the NBA does that. Thats nothing," Vogel said. "Blowing in his face probably crosses the line. Thats not really who we are. We want to be a competitive team, but we dont want to cross the line." Stephenson and Pacers centre Roy Hibbert flew to Miami with slightly lighter wallets; Stephenson was fined $10,000 by the NBA on Thursday for his second flop of the series, Hibbert $5,000 for another flopping violation. It marked the second time in as many games that a Pacer has drawn a fine, with George having gotten dinged for $25,000 after blasting the officiating following Indianas loss in Game 4. In Georges case, the money might have seemed well-spent. Indiana took 22 free throws in Game 5 to Miamis eight, a total that matched the fewest any team has shot in a playoff game since 2006. "We just didnt get to the free-throw line," James said. "We were aggressive ... we shot the ball extremely well. We just didnt get to the line." Almost everything went wrong for Miami in Game 5, and the Heat still nearly won. James shot just 2 for 10 in 24 minutes, and got his fifth foul with 8 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, with the Heat leading by eight. Miami went scoreless on nine of its first 12 possessions after James checked out and the Pacers used that stretch to build a five-point lead, the margin eventually reaching seven when George connected on a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer. Down by as many as 11 in the fourth, Miami had a chance to take the lead in the final seconds, but Chris Boshs 3-pointer bounced away. And with that, the Heat started the process of turning the page to Friday night, when they could punch their fourth straight ticket to the NBA Finals. "Its Game 6," Bosh said. "Its our Game 7." Custom Los Angeles Chargers Jerseys (http://www.authenticchargersnflfansmall.com/c-7-customized.aspx) . The 25-year-old native of Milford, Conn., has 18 points in 41 games this season. The five-foot-eight 166-pound centre also has 28 points (10-18) in 15 games with AHL Oklahoma City. Lance Alworth Jersey (http://www.authenticchargersnflfansmall.com/c-5-chargers-lance-alworth-jersey.aspx) . Ben Street scored twice for the Heat (17-5-1), who won their fourth game in a row and 13th in their last 14 outings. Brett Bulmer scored the lone goal for the Wild (6-11-0), who dropped their sixth straight contest. http://www.authenticchargersnflfansmall.com/. As each game passes (each has played close with the exception of last night) it becomes clearer just how evenly matched these two teams are and how one mistake, or one bad inning, is likely to sway the result. Jahleel Addae Jersey (http://www.authenticchargersnflfansmall.com/c-17-chargers-jahleel-addae-jersey.aspx) . The Twins announced Thursday the 28-year-old Albers cleared waivers. He will join the Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization. Branden Oliver Jersey (http://www.authenticchargersnflfansmall.com/c-15-chargers-branden-oliver-jersey.aspx) ., will experience this week. A year in which the Canadian curling championship has been pushed forward a week to accommodate the Winter Olympics was deemed the perfect chance to stage the event in Montreal for the first time since 1979. SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley is playing like an All-Star lately. Soon hell find out if he gets to be one. Conley had 27 points and 10 assists as the Grizzlies won their fourth straight by beating the slumping Sacramento Kings 99-89 on Wednesday night. One night after outplaying Portland guard Damian Lillard in the Grizzlies impressive 98-81 victory, Conley backed it up with an even better game against the Kings. Conley, who will find out Thursday if he will be picked as one the Western Conference reserves, made 8 of 14 shots, hit two threes, and had two steals. He scored nine points in the fourth quarter. "I wont let it bother me at all if I dont make it. Its something I cant control," Conley said. "If it happens, it happens. Im just playing ball right now. Im playing at a high level and doing what my team needs me to do to do. Im just playing to win." And the Grizzlies are doing plenty of that lately, winning for the ninth time in 10 games. They put their latest win away in the fourth quarter, getting six steals and converting several of them into easy layups. Memphis shot 11 of 18 and made 7 of 8 free throws in the fourth quarter in pulling away from the Kings, who cut the lead to four points at the 5:20 mark. The Grizzlies had nine of their 24 assists in the fourth quarter. Conley got plenty of help at the offensive end with Zach Randolph scoring six points and Tayshaun Prince getting six, all in the final three minutes. "Our chemistry right now is as good as Ive ever seen it," Memphis coach David Joerger said. "Our confidence is high and were really trying to stay in the moment." Isaiah Thomas scored 24 points and Rudy Gay had 23 for the Kings, who have lost five straight and seven of eight. DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings leading scorer and rebounder, missed his fourth straight game with an ankle sprain. The Kings are hoping to have Cousins back for Fridays game in Dallas. Gay, a former Memphis player, had missed the previous three games with an Achilles strain. He made a turnaround jumper in the fourth quarter to surpass 10,000 career points. However, Gay was limping some in the fourth quarter and also after the game in the locker room. But he expected to play against Dallas. "I kind of tweaked my foot a little bit more. But it doesnt matter. I still feel that we could have won the game," Gay said. "I was a little rusty. Im not used to being out. Ive actually been hurt one time in my career that actually made me miss more than one game. "So it was a little tough on me. Its going to happen." Kings coach Michael Malone has been critical of his teams defence for much of the season and Wednesdays game was no different. "I told our team afterward thaat I am going to start playing guys who are willing to defend," Malone said.dddddddddddd. "And if are not ready to defend ... I can no longer be a hypocrite. Ive been a hypocrite the whole year. I got the job in June and I preached defence and thats what I believe in. Were one of the worst defensive teams in the league." Randolph had 18 points for the Grizzlies, who won their fifth straight road game and have a 12-7 record away from home. Marc Gasol had 12 points and Mike Miller scored 11. Its no coincidence the Grizzlies strong play has coincided with the return of Gasol, last years Defensive Player of the Year who missed 23 games with a sprained knee. A protector of the rim, creative passer and reliable scorer, Gasol has been instrumental in the Grizzlies 7-1 record since his return. In the past two-plus week, the Grizzlies have beaten Phoenix, Houston twice, and Oklahoma City. Memphis finishes its three-game road trip Friday night in Minnesota. "Ever since we got Marc back weve been playing better," Prince said. "You can see our confidence coming back. He helps us so much on defence. He has a real presence back there. When he was out we couldnt get stops regularly like we are now." After making a corner jumper, Prince stole the ball from Gay and converted with a driving layup to give Memphis a 92-85 lead. A basket by Conley and a layup by Prince increased the lead to nine. Randolph came up with a loose ball and fed Davis for a dunk at the other end, concluding an 11-4 run and putting Memphis up 82-71. But the Kings came back and cut the lead to three on Thomas 3-pointer at the 4:35 mark. Conley had 11 points in the third quarter when the Grizzlies outscored Sacramento 21-17 and took a 69-63 lead into the fourth. "I thought out defence was the key. There are very good offensive team that can score in bunches and has a lot of firepower, Conley said. "Were getting two, three, four stops in a row. Were not a high-octane team. But our defence is always consistent." Gay had a strong second quarter with 10 points and was difficult to stop in the third as well. He came up with a loose ball near midcourt and sprinted toward the basket for an emphatic dunk that brought the crowd to its feet and put the Kings ahead 61-59. Gasol scored eight points and the Grizzlies shot 52 per cent and led 48-46 lead at intermission. Both Gay and Thomas had 12 points for the Kings. NOTES: Conley moved past Gay for the all-time franchise record for games played (480). ... Kings public address announcer Scott Moak was sick and missed his first game behind the mic in 12 years. His replacement was Jamie Coffee, a longtime Sacramento radio DJ. ... Memphis reserve forward Miller scored seven points in a 61-second span late in the second quarter. 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