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Heat defeat Pacers, secure fourth straight Finals appearance

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The Miami Heat embarrassed the top seed Indiana Pacers Friday in a 117-92 blowout victory. The defeat closed the door on an alarmingly erratic 2014 Playoffs run for the Pacers, who topped the Washington Wizards 4-2 to get to the Heat.

Wizards fans will reluctantly watch LeBron James and the Heat match up against the San Antonio Spurs Thursday for Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Fans will need to find a balance between rooting for the team that defeated the Pacers, a team looking for a three-peat, and the thought of rooting for whatever team that happens to be on the other side of LeBron, who plagued the Wizards Playoffs from 2006-2008 as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Miami broke even with Indiana at 1-1 this season, both home victories. The Wizards fell 0-2 to the Spurs this season, and have gone 5-26 (16.13%) against them since Tim Duncan arrived in 1997. In fact, Washington hasn't beaten San Antonio since 2006, which, despite the LeBron James factor, might give Wizards fans the final push as far as rooting against the Spurs. It'll be an interesting viewing party situation for the D.C. area.

16-year-pro Duncan averaged 15.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, and an all important 3.0 assists per game. He's a do-it-all forward who is a walking Hall of Famer. He isn't, however, particularly mobile, but you would never expect Duncan to end up with a double-doughnut like Roy Hibbert did with his 0 points, 0 boards, against the Wizards.

The Pacers were exposed all Playoffs long as a team that couldn't produce points in bunches, which was no little secret but a fact the Heat used to their advantage. The same will apply for the Spurs, although San Antonio can execute the half court better than most teams in the league. The real question for Miami will be whether or not Tony Parker (ankle) can play through the pain. Then again, when was the last Playoffs in which Parker wasn't favoring something or other? Expect the point guard to come out strong.


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