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Will The Miami Heat Lose This Series?

The 2013 Heat have a shot at some real immortality thanks to their massive winning streak and general dominance this season. In total, the Heat have lost only 19 games in 2012-2013. The Pacers have dealt them four of those losses.

The competitiveness of this series shouldn't be a surprise. The Pacers won two of three vs. the Heat in the regular season this year - LeBron James played well in both Miami losses. This comes after Indiana took two wins off the Heat in the playoffs last year.

After that, the Heat reeled off three in a row to quash the threat. But it would be surprising to see Miami win Thursday and then again in Indiana, where they've had lots of trouble putting together a complete effort.

The fifth game in a seven-game series is considered the swing game. With the Heat and Pacers tied at two wins apiece, this Game 5 is absolutely crucial for the rest of the series and the rest of the season. The Heat lost two in a row just three times this season, and two of those "streaks" came during long road trips. Returning home should be panacea for them, especially with a Miami crowd that's been fairly good considering they could all be partying in South Beach.

But Indiana has won in Miami already this series. Miami has one win in four tries in Indiana this year. This Pacer team and Indianapolis crowd just hates LeBron and co., and have been extremely pleased to see Miami struggle.

And the Heat have struggled, at least as much as a team winning 8 out of 9 playoff games can struggle. LeBron has dropped off slightly from his regular season averages - his 3-point shooting is down, his field goal percentage is too, while his minutes have upped to more than 40 per game. He was kicked out of Game 4, in a classic "Someone whose initials are David Stern wants this series to go to seven games" way. This after not committing a single foul in Game 3. Apparently in two days he went from flawless to Rasheed Wallace.

Chris Bosh, whose injury nearly derailed the Heat in last year's playoffs, has been basically invisible on the boards and also tweaked his ankle in Game 4. He will play Thursday, but a limited Bosh means more room for resurgent Roy Hibbert to operate, as well as the very effective David West. The Heat can't exactly match Indiana size-wise, but they still trump them talent-wise as long as Dwyane Wade and Bosh are playing well.

But without Bosh, and with a potentially hobbled and tired Wade, it becomes the LeBron show. And short of one of his epic performances, the Pacers seem content to let LeBron score as long as the rest of the Heat struggle.

That's the trump card in this series: even though the Pacers match up better on paper, the Heat can still go all Super Saiyan and beat anyone running away. Two losses in this series may be cause for worry, but this is still a team that rattled off 27 wins in a row and boasts the best player on earth. It's a question of whether they've run out of steam, or are looking past Indy to the on-fire Spurs, or if they're simply slumping a bit. Game 5 will go a long way toward determining who wins this series, and who gets to face Tim Duncan in the Finals.

More likely than not, the Heat will get it together, win two more games, and then battle the Spurs to the finish. But an Indy upset would shake up the NBA - and probably lead to the least-watched Finals in NBA history. Paging David Stern!

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LaVar Ball Is Requesting $3,500 From Anyone Planning On Recording Son During Tournament

As we know, LaVar Ball goes above and beyond in terms of making sure his sons become the superstar basketball players he wants them to be. His youngest son LaMelo is currently playing for SPIRE Institute in Ohio, and they have an upcoming tournament taking place in Kentucky. Mr. Ball is reportedly asking outlets to pay $3,500 at the door to videotape his son playing.

"All games are free to film except for the Spire Institute games,” an email reportedly sent by LaVar read. “To film either of the 2 Spire Institute games, you will have to present $3,500 at the gate, as per rules of the Big Baller Brand media credential… If you accept these conditions, you may present this email at the gate as proof of our approval where you will be given a media pass.”

While a few Internet folks are scoffing at the idea of having to pay that sort of money, others are pointing out the fanbase of LaMelo, stating that there are outlets who certainly would (and have) paid the fee for the chance to record LaMelo and SPIRE moments from the game. According to Forbes, this is one of many revenue streams for the Ball family.

"The Ball Sports Group in November entered into a partnership with FloSports Inc. to live stream five SPIRE games featuring LaMelo, beginning with one on Tuesday (Jan. 14) at Brush High School in Ohio," the site reports. "FloSports Inc. agreed to pay $5,000 per game, according to the contract which was signed by Foster."

Here's the email telling video outlets they must pay $3,500 to film LaMelo and @SpireBasketball this weekend in Kentucky. pic.twitter.com/XoiiorNxVr

— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) January 17, 2019

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Louisville International Airport To Be Renamed After Muhammad Ali

Louisville, Kentucky's hometown hero will have an airport named after him.

Mayor Greg Fischer announced Wednesday (Jan. 16) that the Louisville International Airport will be renamed after Muhammad Ali.

"Muhammad Ali belonged to the world, but he only had one hometown, and fortunately, that is our great city of Louisville," Fischer said.

"Muhammad became one of the most well-known people to ever walk the earth and has left a legacy of humanitarianism and athleticism that has inspired billions of people."

The city is hoping to finalize the renaming of the Louisville International Airport to the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport by June. The news was shared a day before the two year anniversary of Ali's 2016 death. Ali would've been 77.

Officials with the Louisville airport are currently working on receiving approval from Ali's family, however, they say an agreement is near. The decision for the rename to hopefully increase tourism.

"It is important that we, as a city, further champion The Champ's legacy," the mayor added. "And the airport renaming is a wonderful next step."

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Gladys Knight To Sing National Anthem At Super Bowl LIII

As reported by the National Football Leauge (NFL) and CBS, Gladys Knight will sing the National Anthem at the 53rd Super Bowl event. The Motown legend will usher in the final game of the season in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia.

"I am proud to use my voice to unite and represent our country in my hometown of Atlanta," Knight said. "The NFL recently announced their new social justice platform Inspire Change, and I am honored to be a part of its inaugural year."

In more recent years, Beyonce, Diana Ross, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Jordin Sparks, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Natalie Cole, and many more have performed the anthem on this stage.

Alongside Knight, the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), will have a performer and deaf activist by the name of Aaron Loggins sign the National Anthem and "America The Beautiful."

Super Bowl LIII will take place Feb. 3 at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The playoffs are currently underway.

Atlanta, I’m coming home! #NFL #SBLIII pic.twitter.com/8rH0O5OAAo

— Gladys Knight (@MsGladysKnight) January 17, 2019

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