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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.