Miami Heat's Chris Bosh (1) dunks past Oklahoma City Thunder's Kendrick Perkins (5) in the first quarter of Game 3 of the NBA Finals basketball series

James leads Heat rally for win over Thunder

MIAMI — Halfway to a title, LeBron James shows no sign of letting this one get away.

MIAMI — 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.

James scored 30 and 32 points in the first two games, his two best finals performances. He fell just shy of another 30-point effort but reached his 20 points for the 20th time this post-season, two shy of Wade’s franchise record set in 2006.

“It’s all about chemistry,” James said. “We understand where we like to get the ball, what we like to do in close situations, and it’s good to see us execute down the stretch. But more importantly it was great to see we were able to get stops. That’s where the game is won and we did that.”

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. They seemed out of it when Oklahoma City opened a 10-point lead midway through the third. But Durant went out, Thunder coach Scott Brooks decided to sit Westbrook with him, and the Heat charged into the lead by the end of the period.

The Thunder had grabbed their last lead at 77-76 on James Harden’s basket with 7:32 left. James answered with two free throws about 20 seconds later, and the teams would trade turnovers and stops over the next couple of tense minutes.

Wade then converted a three-point play, and another minute went by before James powered to the basket, Durant trying to get in position to draw a charge but watching helplessly as he picked up his fifth foul. James made the free throw for an 84-77 advantage with 3:47 to play.

After another basket by James, the Thunder had one last burst — haven’t they always in this series? — ripping off six straight points to get within one before Bosh made a pair of free throws with 1:19 to play.

Durant missed badly on a wild shot attempt, and the Thunder missed another chance when Westbrook was off from behind the arc.

James hit a free throw for a four-point lead with 16 seconds to go and Wade added two to close it out.

“It’s very hard,” James said. “Both teams are very active defensively and both teams make it hard on one another in the half court so when you get stops you try to get early offence, it always helps and we were able to do that a little bit.”

The series made its way from Oklahoma City, where fans in blue shirts filled every seat, to Miami, where white shirts hung on empty chairs just minutes before the tip. The late arrivals in Oklahoma City had been the Thunder players, who fell into big early deficits and acknowledged some first-time finals jitters in Game 1. Brooks said he heard the cries to change his starting lineup but said it never crossed his mind.

The Thunder quickly fell behind 10-4 in this one after spotting the Heat a 13-point lead in Game 1 and getting clubbed into an 18-2 hole in the opening minutes of Game 2. They didn’t let things get any worse this time, playing the Heat even from there and trailing 26-20 after one. James, Wade and Bosh combined for Miami’s first 18 points.

James and Wade had some dazzling drives in the second and Shane Battier got free for a pair of 3-pointers in the final 2 minutes, but the Thunder stayed with them the entire way.

Just Posted

Sport of axe throwing growing in Red Deer

True North Axe Throwing wants sport to be ‘Canadian version of darts’

Optimism remains for Red Deer hospital expansion

Red Deer’s incoming UCP MLAs both have been strong supporters of expansion

RDC cancels championship-winning golf program due to tight finances

Short season, small number of student golfers were also considerations

Fire investigators comb through industrial fire wreckage looking for answers

Industrial building in north Red Deer was completely gutted in Wednesday morning fire

WATCH: An ‘Eggstemely Fun Easter’ at Bower Place in Red Deer

Bower Place mall made sure Red Deer families were able to have… Continue reading

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

PARIS — A “computer glitch” may have been behind the fast-spreading fire… Continue reading

Former journalist pleads guilty to robbing two banks in Medicine Hat

MEDICINE HAT, Alta. — A former journalist arrested almost two years ago… Continue reading

Austria fears for three top climbers missing in Banff National Park

BERLIN — Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Friday his thoughts are with… Continue reading

As Vancouver fights over 4-20, Seattle’s Hempfest enjoys tolerance, some support

VANCOUVER — They both came from humble beginnings: small protests against marijuana… Continue reading

All eyes on the surging Greens as Prince Edward Island goes to the polls

After a brief provincial election campaign devoid of drama, voters on Prince… Continue reading

North Dakota company where 4 were slain seeks normalcy

MANDAN, N.D. — Camaraderie was so important for the “coffee club” at… Continue reading

Trump blasts ex-advisers who say he tried to stop Mueller

WASHINGTON — A day after celebrating the release of the Mueller report… Continue reading

Sanders claims she didn’t lie, despite Mueller finding

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s spokeswoman Sarah Sanders pushed back Friday against… Continue reading

Most Read