INDIANAPOLIS -- Chris Bosh had Tim Duncan posters. That pretty much sums up how long the Spurs have been the gold standard of consistency in the NBA.
The Heat still has plenty of work to do if it wants to reach the NBA Finals, but Tuesday its players paid homage to the team that would be its opponent in the next round. The Spurs swept the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night in stunning fashion to win the Western Conference finals and earn 10 days of rest before The Finals.
“I had favorite players, and he was one of them,” Bosh said of Duncan, the Spurs’ center. “He was in SLAM [Magazine] a lot. SLAM was like the Bible, so I took out the pages and put them on my wall. That was a little while ago. That was another lifetime.”
In Bosh’s current lifetime, he would match up with Duncan in The Finals. Bosh was a freshman in high school when Duncan won his first title with the Spurs in 1999.
“They’re back,” Bosh said. “I know a lot of people are excited about it.”
This will be Duncan’s fifth trip to The Finals, and he has never lost a championship series. Guard Tony Parker strung together monster performances against the Grizzlies, and Manu Ginobili remains a consistent threat.
“It starts with those guys,” Shane Battier said. “When your three best players are the most coachable and hardest workers, everybody else falls in line. That’s really been the mantra for them for the last 20 years, really. They don’t have any knuckleheads over there, and [coach Gregg Popovich] coaches those guys. He gets on them. So, that’s a huge reason why they’ve had so much consistency.”
Battier nearly signed with the Spurs in 2011 but opted with the Heat because Miami was the only team to offer him a three-year contract. San Antonio wanted to convert Battier into a hybrid power forward long before Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
“It’s kind of funny because their plan for me to make me a stretch four off the get-go and it took a Chris Bosh injury to Indiana last year to convert me to a stretch four here, so it’s just funny how things come full circle a little bit,” Battier said.
“The Spurs have been the standard for a long time, and we like to think of ourselves as an organization built on standards, not just results, and we don’t lose sight of that.”
For the Spurs, now awarded more than a week of rest, Udonis Haslem said closing out the Pacers quickly is even more important.
“It’s impressive and obviously they get a lot of rest, so whoever is fortunate enough to come out of this series, definitely wants to take care of business as soon as possible,” Haslem said.
Battier spent his off day on Monday teaching himself how to draw. He recently began reading art text staple Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.
“It’s a thinking book as well as a drawing book,” Battier said. “It teaches you how to draw.”
And the lessons are not progressing well, so far.
“My self-portrait was pretty terrible,” Battier said. “No one is going to see that. It was pretty juvenile.”
This and that
• Pacers coach Frank Vogel on why it’s so difficult to prepare for the Heat: “They have three Hall of Famers and they have shooters everywhere and they have tremendous spacing and a great offensive system. So they make it very, very difficult to help, and they hare a great passing team. When you do help and get into rotations and chain-reactions, they know how to make you pay.”
Vogel in pregame joking about Chris Andersen’s streak of field goals without a miss: “As soon as he misses one shot, this whole series is going to change. The whole series is going to change.” Brian Shaw
• Indiana Hoosiers coach Tom Crean attended the game. Dwyane Wade played for Crean at Marquette.
• David Beckham, reportedly exploring the possibility of creating an MLS team in Miami, is supposed to attend Game 5 with Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure.
• LeBron James’ technical foul with 2:48 left in the first quarter was his third of the postseason, which tied a career high set in 2012.