Halfway to a title, LeBron James shows no sign of letting this one get away.
James had 29 points and 14 rebounds, and the Miami Heat took a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals with a 91-85 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night.
Dwyane Wade had 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Heat, who were in this same position through three games last year, then didn’t win again against the Dallas Mavericks.
James’ poor performance was part of the problem then, but he seems on top of his game this time. His 3-pointer sent the Heat to the fourth quarter with the lead, and he scored five straight Miami points when the Heat were building just enough cushion to hold off another late flurry by the Thunder.
Game 4 is Tuesday night.
Kevin Durant had 25 points for the Thunder, but picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter and had to go to the bench when they had seemed to have control of the game. Russell Westbrook finished with 19 points.
The Heat survived their own fourth-quarter sloppiness by getting enough big plays from their Big Three…
Chris Bosh had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Heat, who can win a second title by winning the next two games at home…
Oklahoma City started to take control with a 14-2 run early in the third. Durant had the first four points, Westbrook fooled the Heat with a fake behind the back pass before in for a layup, then Durant leaped over James for a follow dunk before nailing a jumper for a 60-51 lead with 6:55 left in the period.
But it was barely a minute later when he drew his fourth foul, though he appeared to make little or no contract on Wade’s baseline drive, and had to go to the bench.
– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press
Raise your hand if you still believe Kendrick Perkins (10 points, 12 rebounds in Game 3) has no place in this series. Perk was only the Thunder’s most effective player with the ball in his hands. Granted, that says something about what else was going on, but still.
Perk was good in Game 3. He belongs, OK? So does the Thunder.
But can OKC win it all? Its 91-85 loss to the Heat Sunday night stirred some doubt, had to. And they wouldn’t be human if the men in Thunder uniforms didn’t at least wonder themselves.
“We put ourselves in position to win,” Durant said several times in the postgame, without a ton of conviction.
For the first time in this exhilarating four-year run from 23 wins to the NBA Finals, we saw signs that The Moment may actually be bigger than the Thunder. We saw it in its play, and in the players’ eyes.
– Reported by Mike Sherman of the Oklahoman