Heat survive Thunder rally for 100-96 victory
By Brian Mahoney ,APOKLAHOMA CITY -- LeBron James asked for help, and his Miami teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh provided it as the Heat beat Oklahoma City Thunder 100-96 on Thursday, squaring the NBA Finals series at 1-1.
June 16, 2012, 12:04 am TWN
James scored 32 points, Wade rebounded from a poor opener with 24 and the Heat built a huge early lead before holding off a furious fourth-quarter rally thanks to their three All-Stars.
Bosh had 16 points and 15 rebounds in his return to the starting lineup for the Heat, who snapped a four-game finals losing streak dating back to last season.
“It's been so long since we've had them all together,” Heat forward Shane Battier said. “They played like the All-Stars that they are and that's the effort that we need.”
Now they go home to host Game 3 on Sunday 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.
“We've been down. We've withstood rallies. The good thing about it, when they scored, we didn't get our head down. We just got back on offense and started to execute,” James said. “It's a great team that we're going against. So we're going to need every effort, every play and it's going to take all the way down to zeroes on that clock to get a win.”
Kevin Durant scored 32 points for the Thunder, but missed a shot that would have tied a game in which Oklahoma City trailed throughout. Russell Westbrook finished with 27 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, but shot 10 of 25 from the field.
James Harden tried to keep the Thunder in it early and finished with 21 points, but this time the hosts couldn't come back from a double-digit deficit after spotting Miami a 17-point advantage during their worst first half of the season.
“That was the game. We can't start off down 18-2,” Durant said. “We can't go down that much, especially at home. We've got to correct it.”