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Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat Game 4 Preview

Ronald Martinez, Getty Images
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat square off in Game 4 of the NBA Finals Tuesday night from south beach.

For the second straight year the Miami Heat take a 2-1 lead into Game 4 of the best-of-seven series, but are hopeful its has a different ending this season.

So far in the series three-time league MVP LeBron James is averaging 30.3 points and 10.3 rebounds for the Heat. A year ago against Dallas, he was limited to 17.8 points and 7.2 rebounds when Miami lost the title in six games.

”He’s here,” Heat forward Shane Battier said. ”This is what he’s dreamt about his entire life so he’s going to make the most of his chance.”

James in shooting 46 percent in the series, not even close to Thunders star and three-time scoring champ Kevin Durant’s 57 percent. One place James does edge Durant though is at the charity stripe. James is 25 for 29 from the foul line in three games, while Durant is just 14 of 19 so far in the series.

A year ago, much of the talk was how James shied away from the biggest/brightest moments.

That is not the case now. Miami overcame a 10-point deficit in the third quarter of Game 3, becoming the first team in these playoffs to dig out of that large a second-half hole against the Thunder. James had eight points and four rebounds in the fourth quarter — no Thunder player had more than four points or two rebounds in those last 12 minutes.

The Thunder know a 2-1 deficit in a series is hardly insurmountable. Oklahoma City lost the first two games of the Western Conference finals to San Antonio, becoming the 19th and 20th entries on the Spurs’’ incredible winning streak.

”We were down 2-0 against San Antonio and everybody thought the series was over,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. ”But I know our guys, they’re very competitive, they’re very resilient. They’ve always showed that type of effort every game, and we’ve always been a great bounce-back team.”

Interesting tidbit I read: Two more wins and Miami’s Shane Battier will become just the second Duke player under coach Mike Krzyzewski to win an NBA championship. Of the more than 50 players Coach K has sent to the NBA during his 31 seasons at the helm of the Blue Devils, only Danny Ferry (with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003) has won an NBA title.

 

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