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and its not a legit question
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MIAMI -- LeBron James was walking down the hallway that the Miami Heat call "Championship Alley" a few minutes after last seasons NBA Finals, when he decided the time was right to send a message. It wasnt for his fans. It was for his detractors. "Keep giving me motivation! I need it!" James shouted in the crowded corridor, as the champagne for a second straight NBA title started spraying in the nearby locker room. "Keep doubting me! I need it!" James still has his haters, of course. But with the start of this years playoffs looming, the four-time NBA MVP said Friday he doesnt necessarily need to be fueled by them anymore, not with the Heat having a chance to become just the fourth franchise in league history to capture three straight titles. And if doubt exists -- to be clear, it surely does after Miami lost 14 of its last 25 games -- James said hes not noticing. "I sent out a few tweets but I havent been reading anything," James said after Miami ended practice Friday. "Im kind of just gearing toward locking in tomorrow night and go from there. But I dont need any motivation. I dont need extra motivation. Im motivated enough. This is the best part of the season, its the best time of the year and Im happy to be here once again." Miamis path toward what it hopes is a third straight title and fourth straight appearance in the NBA Finals starts on Sunday against the Charlotte Bobcats, a team the Heat swept this season and are 15-0 against since James arrived in South Florida. Still, no one needs to tell him how much more difficult this post-season could be for Miami, since history isnt exactly on his teams side. Only two franchises -- the Lakers and Celtics -- have won as many as four straight conference titles. James got a reminder of that Thursday night when he watched a documentary about the "Bad Boys"-era Detroit Pistons, a group that won back-to-back NBA championships and reached the finals three years in a row, just as the Heat have now. "When they said they went to three straight finals, they won two in a row, now theyre looking to go to a fourth straight final, I looked at my wife and said, Whos that sound like?" James said. "I know exactly what they were going through." Thing is, those Pistons couldnt get it done. Whether or not Miami does largely hinges on James. He averaged 27.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.4 assists in the regular season, shooting nearly 57 per cent -- the seventh straight year in which hes set a career best in that department. He had a career-high 61-point night against Charlotte last month, climbed five more spots to No. 27 on the leagues career scoring list, and is likely to pick up his eighth All-NBA first-team selection. And even if James doesnt wind up getting his fifth MVP award, with Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City appearing to be the favourite this year, the Bobcats know the enormity of the challenge awaiting them. "Obviously he is the best player in the world," Charlotte guard Chris Douglas-Roberts said. "Hes the best player on the planet and we know he is going to make shots that are contested and will have nights he gets 30. But I think we have a pretty good defence. The game he had 61, if he hits 8 3s on anyone that is going to happen. But we like our chances on the defensive end." Fairly or unfairly, everything the Heat and James have done to this point in the season is now irrelevant. Theyll all be judged by what they do in the next two months. James knows and accepts thats the case, as do his star teammates Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. "This is what makes elite players elite players," Wade said. "You dont get the elite name unless youve done it at this level." Over the last two postseasons, James has made the elite look ordinary. The 45-point, season-saving game at Boston in 2012. A triple-double in Game 5 of that seasons Finals against Oklahoma City to wrap up his first championship. A layup at the buzzer to beat Indiana in Game 1 last year. A 32-point game in Game 6 of last years Finals against San Antonio, followed by a 37-point outing in the second straight title-clincher. The Heat can only hope for more of the same this time around. "I think Ive put together some pretty good second seasons in my career," James said. "Hopefully I can continue to do that." Custom Washington Nationals Nike Jerseys . The 55th-ranked Istomin saved 11 of 14 break points to win in just over two hours, setting up a second round meeting with Australian Marinko Matosevic. It was the Uzbeks third win in three matches against fifth-seeded Kohlschreiber, the 2007 and 2012 tournament winner. Custom Colorado Rockies Nike Jerseys . So what happens? Stevenson lands a huge left to Dawsons temple only 76 seconds into the opening round and walks away with the championship belt. "I said Id knock him out," said Stevenson (21-1). https://www.custombaseballnikejerseys.com/. -- Billy Andrade hasnt played much competitive golf over the past four years. Custom Minnesota Twins Nike Jerseys . "[People] keep asking that question and its not a legit question because we dont have that right, we havent arrived yet," Casey responded. "Weve got to take each game at a time, each possession at a time and look at it that way. Custom Baseball Jerseys . The Brazil defender was substituted 13 minutes into Wednesdays 2-1 Copa del Rey win at Athletic Bilbao because of a right hamstring problem. Scans revealed a second grade tear which could keep him out for a reported four to six weeks.San Diego, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Pirates have apparently re- signed left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano. Numerous reports have stated the deal is for three years and is worth $39 million. It would be the richest free agent deal in team history, eclipsing the 2-year, $17 million pact with catcherr Russell Martin two years ago.dddddddddddd Liriano went 7-10 with a 3.38 ERA last season with the Pirates. In two seasons with Pittsburgh, he is 23-18 with a 3.20 ERA over 55 starts. For his career, Liriano is 76-72 with a 4.07 ERA in 223 games with Minnesota, the Chicago Whites Sox and Pirates. ' ' '
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