CHICAGO (AP) -- This was how LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh envisioned it when they decided to unite in Miami, and now that a championship is in sight, they're not offering any apologies.
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DALLAS (AP) -- Dirk Nowitzki wrapped his hands around the silver ball trophy that goes to the Western Conference champions and smiled. After five years, he and the Dallas Mavericks are kings of their conference again, earning another trip to the NBA finals.
Yet Nowitzki didn't flash the wide, toothy grin of someone relieved to have accomplished his goal. Because, he hasn't.
Unless the Mavs win the next round, too, and become NBA champions for the first time, their whole glorious postseason - and that silver trophy - won't mean as much. It's a lament heard by many superstars, but Nowitzki's indifference amid much of the frenzied celebration around him showed just how serious he is about it.
"I was already thinking about the finals," he said. "This is nice for a day, but we set our goals in October to win it all. We haven't done it yet."
Dallas capped its climb back to the NBA finals with a 100-96 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night that ended the Western finals in five games.
The Lakers have reached a deal in principle with Mike Brown to take over as their new coach, a source confirmed to SI.com
The deal is worth approximately $18 million over four years, with the final year a team option.
The Lakers released a statement Wednesday confirming the team's hopes to make Brown the successor to Phil Jackson.
"We've met with Mike and are very impressed with him," said the statement issued by the Lakers' public relations department. "In addition, we have an outline for an agreement in place and hope to sign a contract within the next few days."
MIAMI (AP) -- Chris Bosh has fought the perception all year. He's the third wheel, the forgotten star, the one who would never shine alongside LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
The Miami Heat never saw it that way.
This was why.
Bosh made 13 of his final 15 shots on the way to a 34-point night, James finished with 22 points and 10 assists, and the Heat remained unbeaten at home in the postseason by beating the Chicago Bulls 96-85 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- After managing to stay even with San Jose despite playing short-handed for almost half of the game's first 24 minutes, the Vancouver Canucks proved to be no match for the Sharks when they got three straight chances with a two-man advantage.
Sami Salo scored twice and Ryan Kesler added another during a dizzying two-minute stretch of three straight five-on-three power plays that gave the Canucks a 4-2 victory in Game 4 on Sunday and a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference final.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Danica Patrick has taken advantage of a second chance and qualified for the Indianapolis 500.
IndyCar's most marketable personality is in the 33-car field with a four-lap qualifying average of 224.861 mph, the second fastest of the day.
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MIAMI (AP) -- For LeBron James, Game 5 last season against Boston was horrific.
A year later, Game 5 was humbling.
And he and the Miami Heat are halfway to an NBA championship, having finally found a way to vanquish the Celtics.
Dwyane Wade scored 34 points, James added 33 - including the game's last 10 in a spectacular closing flourish, part of Miami's 16-0 run over the final 4:15 - and the Heat beat the Celtics 97-87 on Wednesday night to win their Eastern Conference semifinal series in five games.
When it was over, James knelt on the court, oblivious to the photographers who quickly surrounded him in Miami's celebration.More »