OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Heat built a 17-point lead in the first quarter and then held on late to even the best-of-7 NBA Finals at one game apiece. LeBron James was a force both offensively and defensively, Dwyane Wade bounced back after struggling in Game 1, Chris Bosh returned to the starting lineup with a dominant effort and Shane Battier once again sparkled.
IT WAS OVER WHEN ...
LeBron James made two free throws with 7.1 seconds left to give the Heat a four-point lead.
A RARE VICTORY
The Heat's victory at Chesapeake Energy Arena was the first for an opponent of the Thunder in the playoffs. Oklahoma City was 9-0 at home in the postseason entering Thursday night.
The Heat outscored the Thunder 27-15 in the first quarter and started the game with an 18-2 run. It was the only quarter the Heat outscored the Thunder but it was enough. James and Wade attacked the basket from the opening tip and Battier made a pair of three-pointers.
Shane Battier finished with 17 points and was 5 of 7 from three-point range. In the first two games of the Finals, Battier scored 34 points and was 9 of 13 from three-point range.
Bosh returned to the starting lineup for the first time since straining an abdominal muscle in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. He had 16 points and 15 rebounds, including seven offensive boards. Before the game, I asked Bosh if he was ready to play 40 minutes. Guess so. He played 40 minutes and 23 seconds. His contribution was the biggest difference between Games 1 and 2.
"He did a good job of rebounding," said Thunder guard Russell Westbrook. "I think he helped them out, tipping balls, getting extra possessions, just doing his job."
LeBron James was 12 of 12 from the free-throw line.
Congrats to rookie Norris Cole, who made his Finals debut. He played more than 13 minutes and was 1 of 3 from the field for two points.