NBA Finals: LeBron helps Heat hold on to beat Thunder in Game 2
LeBron James hit two critical free throws in the closing seconds as Miami staved off a furious Oklahoma City fourth quarter rally Thursday night.
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In Game 1, Wade was 7 of 19. He wasn't sharp in the last round and continues to hear reports that something is physically wrong with him. He was all but asked Wednesday if his explosiveness was a thing of the past, what must have been insulting to a player who, though 30, still believes he's not far from the top of the game.Skip to next paragraph
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Wade bounced back in a big way, not quite at the level he was as the 2006 finals MVP, but certainly good enough with the help around him now for the Heat to win another one.
"Just know that I'm always going to keep coming back until I don't play this game no more," Wade said. "I know my abilities, I know what I'm capable of and it was good."
He spun into the lane and found Bosh for a dunk that seemed to have the Heat safe at 98-91 inside the final minute, but a 3-pointer by Durant cut it to 98-96 with 37 seconds left. After James missed a 3-pointer, the Thunder got the ball into Durant, who appeared to be knocked off balance by James as he missed the baseline shot attempt.
Durant said only that he missed the shot, saying he would have to watch the tape to see if he was fouled.
Bosh started after coming off the bench in every game since returning late last round from his nine-game absence with a strained lower abdominal muscle. The Big Three joined Battier and Mario Chalmers in the lineup, the first time Miami had gone with that first five all season.
It sent the Heat on their way to a terrific start, and Battier matched his surprising 17-point performance in Game 1 by going 5 of 7 from 3-point range, providing all the help the superstar trio needed.
James had his fifth straight 30-point game, breaking Wade's franchise playoff record, and added eight rebounds. He defended Durant early and helped put the league's scoring champion in foul trouble, just one of the problems the Thunder had early.
Another loud, blue and white crowd tried to inspire them to rally, but Durant and company never got close until the final minutes.
Durant nailed a 3-pointer and drove into the lane to throw down a dunk over Battier that cut it to 82-74 with 8:22 remaining. His 3-pointer from the wing trimmed it to 90-86, and the Thunder got it all the way to 94-91 when Westbrook dunked Durant's miss with 1:48 to go.
James answered by banking in a jumper for his first basket of the final period, as the Big Three combined for all but one of Miami's seven field goals in the fourth quarter.
The Thunder missed 11 of their first 12 shots, and when James capped a run of 13 straight Miami points with a basket, it was 18-2 with 4:51 remaining in the period.
Coach Scott Brooks had talked to his team about its poor starts and told the Thunder during a first-quarter timeout that the Heat were playing harder than they were. The Heat kept it up, pushing it to 25-8 on Wade's jumper with 2:39 left.
"We kept missing good shots," Thunder forward Serge Ibaka said. "We can do better."
Notes: The Heat used their 25th different lineup in their 86 games this season, including seventh of the postseason. The most frequently used lineup in the regular season, with James, Wade, Bosh, Chalmers and center Joel Anthony, has not opened a game in the postseason after going 27-10 during the regular season. ... Reserve James Jones checked in for the Heat in the first quarter after missing Game 1 with a migraine. ... Former Oklahoma star running back Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings was at the game. ... A powerful storm knocked out cable in many South Florida homes, keeping Heat fans from seeing the entire game.