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GAME 3: Heat 91, Thunder 85

Two victories away from a championship.

The Heat defeated the Thunder 91-85 on Sunday at American Airlines Arena in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Miami now leads the series 2-1 and can hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy on its home court with two more victories on Tuesday and Thursday.

IT WAS OVER WHEN ...
LeBron James made second of two free-throw attempts with 16 seconds left in the game. It gave the Heat a four-point cushion and Russell Westbrook missed a three-point attempt with 9.9 seconds left. James came down with the rebound to end the game.

FUNDAMENTALS
The Heat was 31 of 35 from the free-throw line and made 25 of its last 27 attempts from the line. Dwyane Wade led the Heat with nine free throws on 11 attempts. James was 6 of 8 from the line. Chris Bosh was 4 of 4 from the line.

THE COMEBACK
The Heat trailed by 10 points when Shane Battier and James Jones gave the Heat six straight points from the free-throw line late in the third quarter. Serge Ibaka fouled Battier in the act of shooting a three-pointer and then Derrick Fisher made the same mistake on Jones on the Heat's next possession. After beginning the third quarter 1 of 10 from the field, the Heat ended the period with a 13-2 run and led by two points entering the fourth quarter.

FOURTH-QUARTER POISE
The Heat was 9 of 10 from the free-throw line in the final period with James going 4 of 5 from the line and Wade making all three of his attempts. Bosh was 2 of 2 from the line in the fourth quarter.

FOURTH-QUARTER TOUGHNESS
The Heat dominated the boards in the final period, winning the rebounding battle 13-6. Miami had four crucial offensive rebounds in the fourth, including two from Bosh. Bosh led the Heat in rebounds in the final period with five.

BATTIER'S BRILLIANCE
In addition to his clutch free throws in the third quarter, Shane Battier was 2 of 2 from three-point range. Both of his triples came in the final two minutes of the second quarter. Battier is 11 of 15 from distance in the Finals. His 11 three-pointers ties an NBA Finals record for the most three-pointers in the first three games of a championship series. Rashard Lewis made 11 three-pointers for the Magic in the first three games 2009 Finals against the Lakers.

NOT COMING OUT
With the Heat trailing in the third period, Dwyane Wade refused to come out of the game and went on to play every second of the second half. Wade led the Heat with 14 points in the second half and finished with 25 points. He also had seven rebounds and seven assists to go along with five turnovers.

LEBRON'S MVP BID
James has led the Heat in scoring in each of the first three games of the Finals. He finished with 29 points on 11 of 23 shooting. Game 3 was the just the second time in the Heat's last 10 playoff games that James has scored under 30 points. James enters Game 4 just nine points shy of the Heat's franchise postseason record for points in a single postseason.

James has scored at least 25 points in 13 consecutive postseason games. He scored at least 25 points in 17 straight games in the 2009 postseason.

James' 14 rebounds in Game 3 gives him nine double-doubles in the postseason. It's his fourth game this postseason with at least 14 rebounds.

MARIO'S TOUGH NIGHT
Mario Chalmers went 1 of 8 from the field and scored two points. Despite the rough game, Chalmers' basket in the fourth quarter was an important one. His reverse layup with 8:26 left in the game gave the Heat a three-point lead.

 

 

 

Comments

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YES YES YES SIR! 7/8 of the way to the title. The Thunder inexperience started to show last night. Thundercats roared for 3 Quaters but in the end, it was just a "Me.....Ow that asz whoopin' hurt. I can smell a championship and it even got me hungry. Great job Miami. Let's do it!

14 down - 2 to go

Bosh said Sunday the Heat “makes the greatest adjustments in the league. We don’t wait to get stumped before we figure things out. We think three steps ahead.”

@greg - If we win this is Spo's fault, fire him!

Good Job Spo. 2 More to go and the Goal is Accomplished. Consistency All 48 Minutes. We are Starting to Show it. Let's Not Get Happy Yet, Remember Last Year. We need to win Game 4 to Break their Will.

Oh yeah Funny how we play better when we use more than 6 guys and Lebron can Catch his breath for a minute or 2. Amazing how LBJ doesn't choke at the end when he's not tired.

Legs and Balance are Very important In Ur Shot, Even If U coach Kids that don't get tired and have bad Shooting Form for a year. U can't elevate the same and Ur hands get heavy once Fatigue Sets In.

Professional Sports and Amateur Games Shouldn't be Compared. The College Game and the Pro game Are Way Different, Even though Some College Athletes are Older than NBA players.

2morewins!!

I told you guys if we hold the Thunder under 100 pts, we'd have a good chance to win these games.

Defense wins championships.

Good job by Spo sticking to his guns & keeping Battier as a starter, guy has stepped up his game...some people on here think thats the wrong move but only time will tell if Spo will be the next "great" coach or not.

Great win.... We must win game 4... tbc....007...

I agree. Great Consistent Defense Wins This Series.

I also Agree only time will tell, Let's just not give him the Respect of A Champion Until He Wins 1. We were in the SAme Position Last Year. Remember What I said only 5 coaches Have won 3 or more in NBA History. I'm Rooting with Everyone for Spo's Success. He is A Great Guy. I'm just going to be Extra Critical Until he wins 1. Specially If we Would've Lost to Indiana.

I remember Phil won 6 Titles With MJ and people Still didn't respect him as a Coach. Ur asking me to respect this Amateur like he was the G.O.A.T. Not going till happen until Spo wins Next Year. 2 titles and He will have My Unconditional Respect. 3-peat and I'll even be Gassing Spo up saying he's better than Riley. Till then Constructive Criticism.

Look at the Giants Coughlin, He is a good coach but he has been on the hot seat both SuperBowl runs. After his 2nd title this year he finally got his Respect from the Fan Base to Coach as long as he wants.

OK, listen, Bron, you have the clear advantage on the block, you have to use your god giving ability, get kd in foul trouble at will, when they double, look for the open man, or that baseline turn step back off the glass is there, stay aggressive in the open court, get to the line.... D-Wade, really need a big one from you in this one, going down the stretch when they trap or pressor, have someone set a pick, we have to limit our turnovers, get to the line, don't let them off the hook, ATTACK... Bosh, keep fighting down low, that back cut or roll to the rim is there, be ready, get to the line, hit the glass.... UD, keep fighting, this will be a war, be ready, need you some where here to be a major player, be ready.... Rio, stay aggressive, that three might be open, but be ready to attack as well... Shane, stay solid, your shot will be needed and it will be open.... Jones, be ready, you are an elite shooter, come in and shoot the damn ball... Coach, coming down the stretch when they trap, bring back help, we can not allow them to go on runs at the ends, that will be a mistake... GET THAT FOCUS... WE NEED THIS GAME.... RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW.... MUST WIN... BY ALL MEANS... FROM TIP TO BUZZER... LET'S GET IT...007...

Next game is gonna be tough. KD won't get in foul trouble. I think his coach has finally got the memo that he can't defend LBJ. It's 1 thing to put good D on some1 and they just make the shot anyway. It's another to be totally over matched. They said this was gonna be a game of matchups. They forgot to mention that no teams have as many interchangeable parts as the heat. Guys that can play more than 2 positions at a very high level.

Nice putback by Miller but watching him grimace every time he exerts is getting old. Similarly, crucial make by Jones but he's still a step slow closing out.

The Heat need to eliminate as many "buts" as possible to clinch G4 *and* the series. Break glass, play Terell, even if it's just to get his feet wet. No one on the Thunder had any Finals experience either, until they did. The Heat could use Harris' defensive chops because LeBron & Wade DO need blows + foul protection. Bron/Wade logged 44 mins. Sunday. NO ONE on the Thunder logged more than 39. The diff doesn't sound like much; but it adds up over a series. Championships are intrinsically a war of attrition. KD might be complaining now (as he seemed to do in postgame comments about his extended blow following PF#4), but the Heat may pay the price.

Thought Rio dug pretty well against RW for the first 20 min. And Chalmers has become adept setting up MIA's halfcourt off. But (there you go again) it's not enuff. And don't gush about his points. With Wade, Bron & Bosh, the Heat should always have enuff offense. WE NEED STOPS and need to specifically stop Westbrook -- the only true halfcourt creator in the Thunder attack (KD isn't strong enuff to consistently postup Bron, confines dribble-drives to runouts/transistion where there's more space and his high-drib/long-stride is less exposed).

That's why Brooks can't afford to yank him. Harden, as crafty as he is setting up and probing defenses for cracks, lacks RW's burst. Heat players do an excellent job rotating/helping on Westbrook. But it still comes with a risk -- an avoidable risk. More solo NoNo on RW would reduce Bron/Wade/Bosh/UD's exposure to help fouls. Ditto Harris for defensive minutes re KD or Harden and/or Westbrook (I think TH has the quicks + length to d RW effectively).

With all the "hinting" by KD & Brooks via their responses to foul questions, you can bet on Big 3 foul trouble in G4. Unless.

I would Love to see T.Harris play he has potential. We know it won't happen. I hope he sticks next year and we can develop Harris & Cole off the Bench. U talk about Energy. Yes they will make Errors but they will get better with PT.

Give Milk his title and then tell him Bye. Cut the Clown. We got the players and I trust Riley will just keep adding Depth to this team. I just hope we add it thru the Draft. Let the Big 3 be the Veterans of this Team.

I like adding KG...

GAME 4.... OUR DEFENSE HAS TO BE ON POINT FOR 48 MINUTES....

no team has come back from a 3-1 deficit in finals. EVER. so its there for the taking. as bad as we shot, we have to be due for agood shooting game u would think. Put them on the ropes, and lets open it up in the 2nd half.

they r gonna come out like gang busters knowing they cant lose this game..........

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