Heat Win At Home

The Miami Heat was home for game 3 of the NBA Finals. Their first home game of the series and the Heat gave their fans a show. The Heat already had the momentum from their game 2 win back in Oklahoma City. Despite the Heat’s win, game 3 saw a more aggressive Thunder and a closely contested game throughout. The Thunder is usually a second half team and they played better first half basketball in-game 3.

Much of the first half was a back and forth game. Both teams were playing well on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. A majority of the Heat’s offensive was points in the paint for the 1st quarter. In the rebounding category the Heat dominated for the first half of the game. At the end of the first quarter, the Heat was leading the game by six points 20-26. During the second quarter the Thunder had a run of 14-5 at one point and were on the attack. By the end of the 2nd both Durant and Westbrook had 13-point games. However, Miami was able to still get away at half-time with a lead of 46-47. LeBron had 16 points, shot 7-12 from the field, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists. Wade contributed as well with 11 points and 5 assists.

After half-time, much of the 3rd quarter belonged to the Thunder. There was one stretch of time were the Heat had missed their last six field goals while the Thunder were 4-8 from the field. For three minutes of the 3rd, the Thunder went on a 10-2 run.  The Thunder was on a tear offensively and scored on six straight possessions. At the start of the third the Heat were out-rebounded the Thunder offensively 4 to 10. Towards the end of third the Thunder had 9 offensive rebounds to Miami’s 10. The game changed for the Thunder after Durant received his fourth foul, while trying to defend Wade in the paint late in third. Durant went to the bench and little while later so did Westbrook. During Durant and Westbrook’s time on the bench for almost six minutes the Heat went on a 15-7 run. Using that run Miami took the lead at the end of the 3rd quarter 67-69.

In the fourth the Heat struggled with ball handling. At one point in the quarter the Heat had turned over the ball on three of their last four possessions. There was a three-minute stretch the Thunder had four turnovers and didn’t score any field goals. Miami had seven turnovers in the fourth quarter. Miami dominated the fourth quarter; they went on an 8-0 run for three minutes. Late in the fourth with less than two minutes to go the Thunder was down by 3 85-88. They had the ball and Westbrook attempted a three but he missed. Following that possession James was fouled by Harden and made 1 of his 2 free throws. James’ free throw put the Heat up by four and Thunder coach, Scott Brooks, called a timeout. Wade stole the inbound pass and got fouled. He made his two free throws, putting the game away for the Heat. Coach brooks called one more timeout and Westbrook attempted another three, however, he missed and James rebounded the ball. The Heat won the game by 5 85-91.

Durant finished the game with 25 points and Westbrook with 19 points. James had 29 points and 14 rebounds, Wade had 25 points and 7 assists, and Bosh had 10 points and 10 rebounds. A huge factor in the Heat’s victory was their free throw shooting; they end the game with 28-31 from the free throw line. Miami dominated the paint and out-rebounded the Thunder by 7. During the post game the commentators spoke about game 3 being Durant’s second game where he was in foul trouble. His foul trouble was the reason he was benched in the third. While in the press conference, when Durant was asked how frustrating it was to watch the Heat’s run he said, “It was frustrating. You know? We had a good lead.”  Ervin Johnson commented on LeBron’s fourth quarter play saying, “LeBron was fantastic in the 4th quarter.” LeBron is often criticized for being a poor fourth quarter player. Durant and Westbrook were the ones who struggled in the 4th, only combining for eight points. When Chris Bosh was asked how the Heat was able to stay consistent in the 4th he said, “We kept our composure and we kept things together.”

Now, with game 4 on the verge in Miami, can Miami continue to pull victories? Or will Durant be able to avoid foul trouble and will the Thunder have another player besides Durant and Westbrook to contribute consistently? Find out this Tuesday on June 19th on ABC at 9:00pm ET.

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