Sports: The Heat is on at Miami’s Home Turf!
Global warming sucks but for Eastern Conference champion Miami, the heat is on at their home arena as the Heat (pun intended) raced to a 2-1 championship series advantage against Oklahoma City with a decisive 91-85 triumph in Game 3 of their National Basketball Association Finals yesterday at the American Airlines Arena.
Game 1 went to the Thunder as Oklahoma City pulverized the visiting Heat with a huge 105-94 victory behind the 36-point performance of Kevin Durant on top of his eight caroms, four assists and a blocked shot in an almost no relief job having played 46 minutes for Coach Scott Brooks.
Miami took the half, 54-47, in Game 1 but the Heat were outscored by the Thunder in the final 24 minutes of play as Durant converted 12 of his 20 field goal tries in the entire game including a 50% success from downtown (4-of-8 triples) as well as an 8-of-9 conversion from the line.
For the Heat, LeBron James had 30 markers and Dwyane Wade added 19 in a losing cause. Forward Shane Battier was the other shining moment for Fil-Am mentor Erik Spoelstra’s wards in Game 1 as the former Memphis and Houston player chipped in 17 points highlighted by four triples.
In Game 2, it was an all Miami show as the Heat conquered the Thunder at their home turf-the Chesapeake Energy Arena in downtown Oklahoma via a masterful 100-96 win in front of a silenced hometown crowd last Friday. Again, James was the game’s best performer with 32 markers, eight rebounds and five dish offs.
Battier once again finished with 17 points in 42 minutes as a starter for the Heat while shooting 6-of-8 from the field including five treys in seven attempts for a whooping 75% shooting clip overall. Chris Bosh also contributed 16 markers while starting for Miami and after coming off the bench in that Game 1 setback.
As usual, Wade was the game’s silent operator as he mustered 24 points while making 50% of his shots as the Heat controlled the game particularly in the three-point field goal shooting department, 42.9% as compared to Oklahoma City’s pathetic 34.6%. The Thunder had more triples, 9-6, versus the Heat but they attempted 26 times as against Miami’s 14.
With that Game 2 defeat, the tide favored the Heat going into Game 3 of the 2012 NBA Finals for the Larry O’Brien Trophy and with Miami heavily expected to emerge triumphant last Monday, the Heat once again won over the Thunder, 91-85, with James scoring 29 points aside from hauling down 14 recoveries.
James and company took the opening quarter, 26-20, and still led at the turn by a solitary point before outlasting the seemingly tired Thunder, 44-39, in the final half. Durant led Oklahoma City with 25 markers and a playoff-low six rebounds while Russell Westbrook added 19 in a losing effort.
After ending Boston’s title aspirations with a Game 7 triumph at home in their Eastern Conference Finals series, the Heat were the clear underdogs against a well rested and young Oklahoma City side led by Durant, Westbrook, James Harden, Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha.
But after taking Game 2 by storm, Miami is clearly on the lead, experience-wise, in this best-of-seven affair for the NBA diadem last won by deposed NBA champion Dallas. A win in tomorrow’s Game 4 will surely catapult the Heat for a possible second league title after winning the crown against the Mavericks in 2006.
For Oklahoma City to remain in contention, a win in either Game 4 or 5 will give the homecourt advantage back to the Thunder as they head back to the West for Game 6 and if necessary, Game 7. One thing’s for sure, the Heat are in command and another victory will spell D-A-N-G-E-R for the Thunder’s championship dreams!*
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