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Pacers even series with Heat

This does not sound like a winning formula. Miss 24 of 29 shots in one stretch, on the road. Watch an 11-point second-half lead turn into a deficit. Have your entire team get outscored by two players in the fourth quarter.

Somehow, it worked for the Indiana Pacers.

And with one part of the Big Three gone, the Miami Heat might have a very big problem.

David West scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and the Pacers took home-court advantage away from Miami by beating the Heat, 78-75, in Game Two of the teams' Eastern Conference semifinal series Tuesday night -- after LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both came up short on key opportunities in the final minute.

"Defense and rebounding," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "We built this team, we started talking about smash-mouth basketball, about winning the war in the trenches, and that's with defense and rebounding. That's what I grew up watching Eastern Conference basketball being like. We understand offense is going to come and go, especially against a great defensive team like these guys but we're pretty good too."

The series is tied at 1, with Game Three in Indianapolis on Thursday.

James scored 28 points for Miami and Wade finished with 24, though both failed to convert big chances late.

Miami was without Chris Bosh, who's sidelined indefinitely, and was outrebounded, 50-40. Besides Wade and James, no other Heat player scored more than five points.


Spurs strike first

SAN ANTONIO -- Tim Duncan had 26 points and 10 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs, recharged after a weeklong layoff, wore down the busy Los Angeles Clippers to win Game One of their Western Conference semifinals series, 108-92, on Tuesday night.

Playing for the sixth time in 11 days, the Clippers gave San Antonio its toughest first half of the playoffs before fading fast. And unlike their stunning Game One comeback at Memphis in the first round, they didn't have the wind this time.

Manu Ginobili added 22 points for the Spurs, who've won 15 in a row. It's the longest winning streak sustained in the NBA playoffs since the 2004 Spurs won 17 straight.

Eric Bledsoe led the Clippers with 23 points.


Today's games

* The Philadelphia 76ers are set for their first second-round home playoff games in nine years tonight (7 p.m., TNT). It's Game Three of the series with the Celtics, with the teams splitting two games in Boston.

* Oklahoma City Thunder starting center Kendrick Perkins will be a game-time decision for Game Two against the Los Angeles Lakers tonight (9:30 p.m., TNT) after aggravating a strained muscle in his right hip. Perkins did not practice Tuesday, only shooting free throws with his teammates at the end of the session.

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