Heat Top Thunder To Take 3-1 Series Lead In NBA Finals
Posted by: Brian Sinkoff
Published on: June 20th, 2012 at 7:13 AM
LeBron James better get well fast. He’s about to play for a championship.
Hardly able to move, James returned from a left leg injury to make the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 2:54 remaining and the Miami Heat held off Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder for a 104-98 victory on Tuesday night and a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.
With James watching the final moments, Mario Chalmers finished off a stellar 25-point effort that matched Dwyane Wade. James had 26 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds, only missing a triple-double because he was on the bench at the end after hurting his leg in a fall near the Thunder basket.
Game 5 is Thursday night and James will have a chance to finish a championship chase that started in Cleveland before he famously — or infamously — left for South Florida before last season. No team has blown a 3-1 lead in the finals.
Westbrook scored 43 points for the Thunder, who wasted an early 17-point lead but were never out of the game because of their sensational point guard. Kevin Durant had 28 points but James Harden threw in another clunker, finishing with eight points on 2-of-10 shooting. Westbrook and Durant were the only Thunder players to score in the last 16:46.
The Heat is now just one game away from an NBA Championship. Which means LeBron James can finally shut up all of the haters that still don’t understand he’s the best basketball player on the planet right now. I think it’s laugh-out-loud funny that LeBron still has doubters. He has been a man-child during this NBA Finals. He played the final 4 minutes on one leg and still hit one of the biggest shots of the game. I think he’s going to put to rest all of those, “He hasn’t won a ring yet” arguments real soon.
Serious props to Chalmers for the type of game he had in Game #4. The Heat had 4 All-Stars on the court for this victory while the Thunder had just two. Where the heck was James Harden? He was invisible out there. Oklahoma City isn’t going to win without him. He needs to score more than 8 points for them to have any chance.
And Westbrook? Outstanding. The Thunder point guard has raised his level up during the Finals. The problem is – he seems to be the only member of his team (Durant included) that’s playing with a sense of urgency right now.
Even though these last 3 games have come down to the wire, it’s becoming quite clear the Heat are just a better team. Good teams just find ways to win in the clutch moments and that’s what Miami is doing right now.
Brian Sinkoff is a licensed Real Estate agent with Coldwell Banker Prime Properties. He’s been in media for nearly 20 years. Sinkoff is frequent contributor for Time Warner Cable Sports television and also was host of “Sound-off with Sinkoff” – which was on the ESPN Radio affiliate in Albany, NY.