Heat too hot for Pacers, reach fourth straight Finals
By Simon Evans
MIAMI (Reuters) - The Miami Heat crushed the Indiana Pacers 117-92 to stay in the hunt for a third straight NBA title after a 4-2 series win secured them the Eastern Conference championship on Friday.
Miami, now in their fourth straight NBA Finals, will play either the San Antonio Spurs or the Oklahoma City Thunder for the championship. San Antonio lead the Western Conference Final 3-2.
LeBron James and Chris Bosh top scored for Miami with 25 points each while Paul George had 29 points for the Pacers.
After narrowly losing out in Game Five in Indiana on Wednesday, Miami knew they could ill-afford another slip-up and they dominated a Pacers team that in the end was no real match for them.
"It is bitterly disappointing to fall short of our goals and bitterly disappointing to lose to this team three years in a row," said Pacers head coach Frank Vogel.
"But we are competing against the Michael Jordan of our era and the Chicago Bulls of our era and you have to tip your hats to them," he added.
Miami become only the third franchise to reach four straight finals - following the Boston Celtics and the L.A. Lakers.
It was always going to be a lively atmosphere for such a crucial game but the Heat fans were additionally charged up by the antics of Pacers guard Lance Stephenson who has attempted to wind-up James throughout the series and drew attention – and some ridicule – by blowing into James's ear during Game Five. Continued...