Hot Heat, Miami Takes Series Lead With Game 3 Win
Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra and his team all claim that their motto is to "keep grinding." Sunday night in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, Miami earned a gritty win over the talented Oklahoma City Thunder by the score of 91-85. Miami now leads the best-of-seven series 2-1.
"We know this is going to be a grind," explained Spoelstra. "This is a microcosm of how this series is going to be."
Miami's big three stepped up. LeBron James (pictured left) finished with an impressive 29 points and 14 rebounds. Chris Bosh had a double-double as well (10 pts, 11 rebs), but his defense in the paint was gritty, and a tribute to how the Heat approached their game on that end of the floor Sunday night.
Dwyane Wade had a few untimely turnovers (5 total), but in the end, played big by scoring 25 points, pulling down 7 boards, and dishing out 7 assists.
"When the game gets tight, all 3 of us have to make big plays to get the win, "said James in postgame. "It was great to see us close this game tonight."
Perhaps the most telling statistic from Game 3 was the free throw shooting. The Heat finished 31-35. OKC was a paltry 15-24 for 62.5%. The Thunder were the number one ranked free throw shooting team during the regular season, which is why the struggles from the charity strip are somewhat puzzling.
Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with 25 points, but his teammates struggled for a stretch in the 3rd quarter when Durant went to the bench with his 4th foul.
"I'm just trying to play agressive on both ends," explained Durant. "Unfortunately, I get some fouls called on me. I've just got to play through it...and play smarter next game."
Always the professional, Durant refused to blame anyone but himself for the loss. Nevertheless, without his play, OKC would not have been in a position to win in the final few minutes of regulation.
Russell Westbrook scored 19, but only finished with 4 assists. James Harden struggled offensively from start to finish. The 6th Man of the Year was a disappointing 2-10 from the field, finishing with 9 points. OKC will need more from Harden if they want to even this series.
Game 4 is Tuesday night in Miami. Tip-off is set for 8:00.