Indiana Pacers' Hill grabs the ball after he was fouled by Miami Heat's James as Miami's Chalmers and Wade look on during Game 2 of their NBA Eastern Conference final basketball playoff in Miami

LeBron James commits two costly turnovers in final minute of Game 2 loss to Pacers

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LeBron James won Game 1 against the Pacers in the final moments, with two drives to the basket for scores in the final 10 seconds of overtime.

To say he lost Game 2 in a similar manner would be overstating things a bit, but James did commit two turnovers on consecutive possessions with under a minute to play that ultimately led to the Pacers coming away with the 97-93 victory.

As you might imagine, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra wasn’t willing to pile on his superstar for those late-game miscues afterward.

“It happens,” Spoelstra said. “They made two good defensive plays with deflections. I would run that again, if I had the opportunity again. So would LJ. That happens. You have to give them credit for the active hands.  The possession before, if the ball would have gotten to Ray, I think he would have had a very good, clean look at it.  And those are the breaks of the game.  We just have to be a little more efficient going down the stretch.

“We had more opportunities than those two, even in transition and a couple of the turnovers and a couple of the looks that we took weren’t necessarily our best opportunities.”

Miami did have additional chances, but obviously things get magnified over a game’s final few possessions. James tried to explain from his perspective what went wrong as he tried to make plays down the stretch.

“First one, Ray came to set a pick‑and‑roll in the first one, and David West basically just put his hands up and he was able to get his hands on the ball,” James said. “A little careless on my part obviously.

“And then the second go‑round, I was able to get in the lane, I spun and I seen Ray once again wide open and I was careless once again.  I had the lane for Ray.  I maybe should have jump‑passed it over the top.  I tried to throw it through the lane, and they was able to get the hand on it again. Can’t happen in that situation. Especially being down two in a big game.”

The second possession was particularly interesting, since it featured Pacers big man Roy Hibbert defensively. Much was made of Hibbert being benched late in overtime of Game 1, but he was there this time. And with Chris Bosh on the strong side where James chose to drive, Hibbert was able to be there to help, which forced James to try to kick it back out instead of trying to make a difficult finish over two defenders.

James finished with an amazing statistical line of 36 points on 14-of-20 shooting, to go along with eight rebounds, three assists, and three steals. But the five turnovers is what he’ll focus on more than anything else as the series shifts to Indiana for the next two games, and while James wasn’t happy with his performance, he promised to atone for his costly mistakes.

“Very disappointing, of course, for me,” James said. “That’s the first thing I always look at on the stat sheet is my turnovers. I had two key ones at a big point of the game. I am very disappointed in my judgment and my plays down the stretch. But I’ll make up for them.”

Enjoy 50-best circus shots of last NBA season

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As of tomorrow, training camps around the league open, and all the focus goes to the 2016-17 season.

For fun, let’s look back one more time at last season — the 50 top circus shots of last season.

Stephen Curry driving the lane and throwing up prayers once he draws contact (and hitting them), there is Russell Westbrook throwing the inbounds pass off an opponent’s back, and so much more. Enjoy. Then let’s get on with next season.

To avoid trash talk, Steven Adams told Kevin Garnett he didn’t speak English

Kevin Garnett
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Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.

Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.

Brilliant.

Adams was lucky, KG had a reputation for going harder at foreign-born players with his trash talk and intimidation. Then again Adams is not the kind of guy prone to be intimidated.

Pistons’ Stan Van Gundy “encouraged” by players speaking out, protesting social issues

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 17: Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Detroit Pistons yells to his players during the first half of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on April 17, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)  *** Local Caption ***Stan Van Gundy
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Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.

Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.

A couple of his Detroit players — Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris — said they backed the 49ers quarterback. Here is what the never shy Van Gundy said about all of it, via Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.

“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…

“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”

Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.

The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.

Sunday is 16th anniversary of greatest dunk ever: Vince Carter over Frederic Weis

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It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.

But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.

Best. Dunk. Ever.

By anyone.

Weis was never the same.

In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.

Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.