Heat Win Game 4, Take Commanding Lead
While they were down by 17 at one point in the first half, the Miami Heat rallied back from the deficit to beat the Thunder 104-98 in game 4 of the NBA Finals.
And just like that, the Heat are up 3 games to 1.
Hoopsvibe's Quick Call: Lebron James can taste his first ring.
With the Heat's victory last night, it is now their championship to lose. Historically, coming back from a 3-1 deficit has been an insurmountable task. In the past 30 NBA Finals series', the team trailing 3-1 has NEVER won the series. This includes the last 13 times since the league flipped the format to 2-3-2. The team trailing 3-1 hasn't won.
That's not to say OKC can't snap the streak, but they certainly have their work cut out for them.
Despite cramping up late and not being able to play in the final minute with the game still close, Lebron James led the charge for Miami once again with 26 points, 12 assists and 9 rebounds. His 12 assists was one assist shy of Oklahoma City's team total and if he had grabbed one more board, he would've accomplished yet another NBA landmark and become the 6th player to have more than one triple-double in the NBA Finals over the course of a career. Only Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy and Larry Bird are members of that exclusive club.
And among all the media criticism and hatred from fans, Lebron is averaging over 30 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists this post season. Love him or hate him, those numbers are insane.
Dwayne Wade had a great game as well adding 25 points on 8-19 shooting along with 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks; but it was the play of Mario Chalmers that really gave the Heat the edge over the Thunder. Chalmers, who has been deemed "Super Mario," dropped 25 points on 9-15 shooting, including 15 points in the 4th quarter that carried the Heat to victory with Lebron on the bench in the final minute. If Chalmers hadn't played that well, I think there's a very good chance this series is tied 2-2.
Russell Westbrook had an amazing night, scoring 43 points and almost single-handedly leading his team in the second half to a game-winning comeback. Durant scored 28 points on 9-19 from the field.
One final note: I think losing this series affects the Heat much more than the Thunder in the long term. Durant, Harden, and Westbrook are all 24 years of age or younger and it seems more than likely that their team will stay intact. Regardless if they lose this year, my guess is we will see them in the finals many times over the next decade. The Heat, on the other hand, have faced so much criticism, that a loss for them would be difficult to bounce back from, even with the superstar talent of James and Wade. If they want to silence the critics and make history, this is the year to do it.
Game 5 is Thursday night in Miami.
Will Lebron be celebrating his first ring?
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Image source: AP Images