May 18, 2013
Heat walk the line to edge ahead of Thunder
Miami's dominance from the free-throw line proved strong enough to quell the Oklahoma City Thunder in a fierce fourth-quarter battle as the Heat claimed a 91-85 Game Three victory and a 2-1 series lead in the NBA Finals.
The Heat outscored the Thunder 31-15 from the line, making all but four of their attempts as they cashed in on opportunities won with their relentless attacks on the rim, while Oklahoma City made just 15-of-24 from the charity stripe.
"This is competition at its highest," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters. "We kept on mentioning that in the fourth quarter. That's what this is about. We're facing great competition. We showed some resolve there in the second half."
LeBron James, who led the scoring with 29 bruising points, drained one of his two free throws with 16.2 seconds on the clock to give Miami a four-point lead.
After Oklahoma City defensive wizard Thabo Sefolosha threw away an inbounds pass, Dwyane Wade sank two more free throws to cap the victory.
"That was a very intense playoff game," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "They made some plays down the stretch and we didn't.
"We led the league in free-throw shooting percentage, but we missed some tonight and turned the ball over in the second half too many times," he added in reference to Oklahoma City's seven turnovers after the intermission.
Oklahoma City built a 10-point lead in the third quarter crowned by a four-point play by veteran guard Derek Fisher, who was fouled as he sank a three-point shot in boosting the Thunder to a 64-54 lead after trailing 47-46 at the half.
Miami closed the gap with the help of back-to-back fouls by the Thunder on three-point shots that gave the Heat six free throws on their way to a 15-3 run to close the third quarter as Durant sat on the bench with four fouls.