Heat survive Thunder-ous late rally
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP):
LeBron James had received plenty of help from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and now he had to finish it on his own.
With what Wade called the loudest crowd he'd ever heard booing - certain James had just fouled Kevin Durant - the league's MVP walked to the free throw line with 7.1 seconds left and the Miami Heat's huge lead down to two points.
The guy who has endured too many fourth-quarter failures wasn't letting another NBA Finals game get away.
James made both free throws, completing a 12-for-12 performance at the line and a 32-point night, and the Heat held on for a 100-96 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night that evened the series at one game apiece.
"On a big stage like this in a big game like this, every point counts, every point matters. So you go to the free throw line, no matter how hostile the environment and try to knock them down,'' James said.
Wade rebounded from a poor opener to add 24 points and Bosh had 16 points and 15 rebounds in his return to the starting line-up for the Heat, who needed a big night from their Big Three to snap a four-game finals losing streak with their first victory since Game Three against Dallas last year.
Now they go home to host Game Three tomorrow and the next two after that, knowing they don't have to hear the noisy Thunder fans again - not to mention all their critics - if they win all three.
Miami blew a 13-point lead in Game One and seemed headed towards a repeat of the second game of the finals last year, when they blew a 15-point edge on their home floor.
Not this time.
"This is a good team and we didn't want to be down 2-0," Bosh said. "We know in order to accomplish our goal, we have to win on the road. We're a good road team. We've done it before. They posed a great challenge because they haven't lost up until today. But we felt that we let one get away and we felt that we could play a much, much better game in Game Two.''