No Big Three meant one big problem for Miami, and one very big win for Indiana.
David West scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, George Hill added 15, and the Indiana Pacers took home-court advantage away from Miami by beating the Heat, 78-75, in Game 2 of the teams' Eastern Conference semifinal series Tuesday night in Miami.
LeBron James scored 28 points for Miami and Dwyane Wade finished with 24, but both missed big chances for the Heat late. James missed two free throws with 54.3 seconds left and Miami down one, and Wade was short on a layup that would have tied the game with 16 seconds remaining.
Mario Chalmers' three-pointer to tie bounced away on the final play, and the series was tied 1-1.
Danny Granger scored 11 points and Paul George added 10 for Indiana, which took advantage of Heat forward Chris Bosh's absence and outrebounded Miami, 50-40.
Game 3 is Thursday in Indianapolis.
Thunder clobber L.A.
For the second time in less than a week, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers must figure out how to fight back after a humbling loss.
Bryant responded the first time by calling out his teammates for lackluster effort.
It might not be so simple this time.
Russell Westbrook had 27 points and nine assists, Kevin Durant added 25 points, and the Oklahoma City Thunder blasted the weary Lakers, 119-90, Monday night in the opening game of the Western Conference semifinals in Oklahoma City.
The blowout came four days after Bryant's Lakers trailed by as many as 28 in a loss at Denver, then bounced back to win Game 7.
They'll need to find some answers before Game 2 in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.
"I've seen both sides of that equation and my experience has taught me just to be patient and to think the game through," said Bryant, who tied Andrew Bynum for the team lead with 20 points.
"We can come up with a different strategy and we can do a much better job and have a much better showing in the next game."
The Thunder took a 15-point halftime lead, opened the third quarter with a 15-2 blitz filled with crowd-pleasing three-pointers and dunks, and never looked back.
The final margin ended up being the fourth-largest in the history of the Oklahoma City franchise, including its years in Seattle.
It matched the 12th-largest defeat in Lakers postseason history, and the sixth worst of Bryant's career.
Irving named top rookie
Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving is the NBA's rookie of the year, winning the award with the same ease as he dribbled past defenders this season.
Irving received 117 of 120 possible first-place votes from a nationwide media panel of 120 writers and broadcasters. Irving finished with 592 points, way ahead of Minnesota's Ricky Rubio (170) and Denver's Kenneth Faried (129), who was third.
Faried, San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard and New York's Iman Shumpert received the other first-place votes, denying Irving's bid to become the fourth player to win the award unanimously.
The 20-year-old is the second Cleveland player to win the award, joining LeBron James in 2004.
Irving's award was expected. It wasn't a matter of if, but when, he would get it.
Rose faces long recovery
Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose faces a recovery of eight months to a year from knee surgery.
The assessment by Brian Cole means the star point guard could return around Feb. 1 or miss next season. The doctor adds there is a chance Rose could be back sooner, but "we're not going to rush it."
The Bulls had already said Rose has a torn ligament in his left knee. Cole says there is there is also a small cartilage tear. He says Rose was "doing great" and surgery went "extremely well."
Carlisle staying in Dallas
Rick Carlisle has signed a new contract with the Mavericks, a year after winning the title. While terms of the deal weren't released, owner Mark Cuban indicated in a statement that it was for at least as long as the coach's initial four-year contract.
"We are excited that Rick will be back with the Mavericks for at least the next four years," Cuban said. "He is a proven winner, a great teacher, and a coach that will help the Mavericks improve as a team and as an organization." . . . General manager Gar Forman said the Bulls would exercise their contract option for next season on coach Tom Thibodeau and will try to negotiate a new deal.
- Associated Press