When it mattered most, in the frantic moments of Thursday night’s Game 2 of the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat got it done. Not just LeBron James.
Count Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — and throw in suddeningly-offensively-capable Shane Battier — among the Heat that made plays to help hold off host Oklahoma City, 100-96, to even the series at 1-1.
‘We’ve been down,” said James, who had 30 points in another outstanding effort. “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. 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.”
They got that win because Wade returned to form with 24 points. Bosh started for the first time since returning from an abdominal strain to get 16 points and 15 rebounds. And Battier threw in 17 points for the second straight game.
”It’s been so long since we’ve had them all together,” Battier said of Wade, James and Bosh. ”They played like the All-Stars that they are and that’s the effort that we need.”
Said Bosh: “I could feel that it was my time to play like I’m supposed to play,” said Bosh, who had a key dunk off a Wade pass with less than a minute to play.
OKC did not play like it had hoped to start the game. The Thunders trailed by 16 in the first quarter and spent almost the entire game trying to make up that deficit. Finally, Durant’s prowess (32 points) and aid from others, including Russell Westbrook (27) and James Harden helped Oklahoma City rally.
After a Wade turnover, Durant sank a 3-pointer to cut it to 98-96 with 37 seconds left. James missed a 3-pointer, and the Thunder got the ball into Durant, who appeared to be knocked off balance by James as he missed the baseline shot attempt to tie the game.
Durant said only that he missed the shot, saying he would have to watch the tape to see if he was fouled. James then sank the insurance free throws – finishing a 12-for-12 night at the line – as fans booed loudly over the no-call.
The OKC all-star focused on its poor start. ”That was the game,” Durant said. “We can’t start off down 18-2. We can’t go down that much, especially at home. We’ve got to correct it.”
It was the first home loss in 10 postseason games for the Thunder, who had overcome a 13-point deficit in Game 1. They must regroup and win one of the next three games scheduled in Miami to return to Oklahoma City. Game 3 is Sunday in America Airlines Arena.