LeBron James finishes with 29 points to help Miami take a 2-1 lead in the series.
Regrets? The Oklahoma City Thunder certainly has a few after the final 1 1/2 minutes of Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
The Thunder was within a point of the Miami Heat on Sunday night at American Airlines Arena, and then it wasn’t after a flurry of missed shots and an egregious turnover by Thabo Sefolosha.
Miami converted five of six free throws in the last 1:19 to secure a 91-85 victory that gave the Heat a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 is here Tuesday.
LeBron James had 29 points on 11-for-23 shooting to go with 14 rebounds for the Heat and Dwyane Wade had an all-around excellent game with 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Things were trending heavily in the Thunder’s direction only a few minutes earlier after Russell Westbrook made a pull-up jumper, capping a 6-0 run that pulled them to within 86-85 with 1:30 to go.
But the Thunder’s final four possessions were all regrettable. Kevin Durant badly missed a running jumper, Westbrook missed a three-pointer, Sefolosha bounced an inbounds pass directly to Wade and then Westbrook missed a three-pointer.
Durant finished with 25 points, making 11 of 19 shots, and Westbrook had 19 points. But Oklahoma City guard James Harden struggled mightily, scoring nine points on two-for-10 shooting.
The Thunder looked defeated after flubbing three consecutive possessions midway through the fourth quarter that ended in turnovers, spoon feeding the Heat’s 8-0 run that included three-point plays by James and Wade.
Harden was twice the guilty party for the Thunder, making a bad pass that went off Durant’s hands and then losing his dribble on Oklahoma City’s next possession.
Heat 69, Thunder 67 (end of third quarter)
For a team that was outscored by only a point, things could not have unraveled much more quickly than they did in the third quarter for Oklahoma City.
Kevin Durant played sparingly in the quarter after picking up his fourth foul and the Thunder frittered away all of a 10-point lead it had taken at one point.
Oklahoma City twice fouled Heat players in the act of taking three-pointers, and Shane Battier and James Jones responded by making all six free throws to shave a nine-point deficit to three.
The Thunder wasn't quite as accurate on freebies, making six of 11 free throws in the quarter.
Miami missed its first seven shots of the quarter, finally converting a high-percentage opportunity when Dwyane Wade went in for a dunk.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma City was getting contributions from seemingly its entire roster.
The often-overlooked Thabo Sefolosha made a move every bit as athletic as those by his more ballyhooed Thunder teammates early in the quarter, taking an alley-oop pass from Russell Westbrook for a dunk.
Westbrook drove for a scoop layup shortly thereafter, giving Oklahoma City a 56-51 lead and forcing the Heat to call a timeout. It only got worse for Miami, with Kevin Durant dunking a missed shot by Sefolosha and then making a one-handed leaping jumper to increase the Thunder's advantage to nine points.
The cushion reached 10 after Derek Fisher converted a four-point play, making a three-pointer and ensuing free throw after getting bumped by Mario Chalmers.
It wouldn't last. James has 21 points and Wade 20 for the Heat.
Please login to add to favorites
Already added to favorites
Added as Favorite