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Heat tip Thunder 104-98 in Game 4 of NBA Finals

MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James could frequency stand, positively couldn’t run. Good thing all he indispensable to do was shoot.

Better get good fast, LeBron. You’re one win divided from a biggest celebration of your life.

A limping, grimacing James shook off left leg cramps to strike a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 2:51 remaining and a Miami Heat reason off a Oklahoma City Thunder for a 104-98 feat Tuesday night and a 3-1 lead in a NBA Finals that no group has ever blown.

Game 5 is Thursday night and James will have a possibility to finish a nine-year follow that started in Cleveland before he famously — or infamously — left for South Florida before final season.

“Of march it’s there to consider about,” James acknowledged.

With James examination a final moments, Mario Chalmers finished off a stellar 25-point bid that matched Dwyane Wade. James had 26 points, 12 assists and 9 rebounds, blank a shot during a triple-double usually since he was on a dais during a finish after thigh cramps emerged following a tumble nearby a Thunder basket.

The Heat indispensable all James could give and some-more to reason off Russell Westbrook. He scored 43 points for a Thunder, who squandered an early 17-point lead though were never out of a diversion since of their marvellous indicate guard. Kevin Durant had 28 points though James Harden threw in another clunker, finishing with 8 points on 2-of-10 shooting. Westbrook and Durant were a usually Thunder players to measure in a final 16:46.

“Shots were falling,” pronounced Westbrook, who was 20 of 32. “It unequivocally doesn’t meant nothing. We didn’t come out with a win.”

James stumbled to a justice on a expostulate mid by a fourth quarter, staying on a descent finish of a building as a Heat regained possession on a blocked shot, and he finished a brief jumper that finished it 92-90. After Westbrook missed a jumper, a Heat called timeout as James cautiously went to a court. Unable to travel off, he was carried to a sideline by a span of teammates.

He returned to a outrageous bark with a small over 4 mins left and a Heat down two, and after Chris Bosh tied it, James solemnly walked into a pull-up 3-point try — maybe doing so meaningful he couldn’t expostulate by anyone — and drilled it.

That finished it 97-94, and when Wade followed with a layup with 2:19 left, a Heat finally adequate room to withstand Westbrook, who kept entrance all night.

“Whatever it takes. No excuses,” pronounced Wade, who had to shake off his possess aches and heedfulness after alighting tough on his behind in a initial half following a fantastic retard by Serge Ibaka. “You don’t wish to leave this locus observant we missed opportunities.”

Chalmers certain didn’t. The actor who was struggling so badly that a Thunder put Durant on him in hopes of avoiding serve tainted difficulty finished 9 of 15 shots, scoring some-more points than he had in a prior 3 games.

“Mario Chalmers is a winner,” Wade added. “He was due for a large diversion and he came by for us.”

The Heat couldn’t have finished it though James, who refused to let any pain forestall him from holding a biggest step of his career.

The Heat never got past their second finals feat final year, with James’ struggles their biggest problem as they mislaid a final 3 to Dallas. But he was during his shining best in this one, gripping adult his scoring swell though also frankly kicking it out to open teammates whenever he was double-teamed.

He attempted to play by a pain, though a Heat had to call another timeout and mislay him for good shortly after his go-ahead basket.

But there’s no doubt he will play Thursday: “I’ll be ready,” James said. “I’ll be prepared for Game 5.”

Bosh finished with 13 points and 9 rebounds for a Heat, who fast climbed out of a 17-point hole by scoring 16 true points, with Chalmers and backup Norris Cole assisting solid them until James and Wade got going.

James and Durant sat alone on their benches moments before a game, Durant staring sensitively toward a building and James observant something to siphon himself up. Then they went out to start, and this time Durant stayed divided from him.

In tainted difficulty a final dual games, he began a diversion covering Chalmers, an composition that liberated him from a weight of fortifying James. It kept Durant protected from fouls — though a Thunder substantially didn’t count on a scoring blast from Chalmers after he totaled usually 5 points over a prior dual games.

“I took that as a small pointer of disrespect,” Chalmers said.

Neither group could benefit subdivision during a dizzying center dual periods, one measure fast answered on a other finish as Miami took a 79-75 lead to a final 12 minutes.

Westbrook strike his initial 4 shots and a Thunder finished 6 of their initial 7 in a 13-3 detonate out of a gate. A run of 6 true finished it 23-12 opposite a dumbfounded Heat, who started 5 of 17, and it grew to 33-17 on Harden’s fast-break layup with 21 seconds left.

“It wasn’t a matter of not wanting and not bringing it. Our guys were ready,” Heat manager Erik Spoelstra said. “They came out with an implausible ferocity to start that game.”

The Heat found their hint in Cole, who strike a 3-pointer and afterwards non-stop a second entertain with another to flog off a 16-0 burst, and a Heat would come all a approach behind to tie it during 35 on Wade’s 3-pointer with 7:57 remaining in a half.

With a throng behind in it, Bosh get them even some-more dismissed adult by diving on a building for a lax ball, afterwards leaping adult after he was fouled and screaming toward a fans.

Yet a Thunder never gave adult a lead, Westbrook constantly entrance by with a bucket each time a Heat seemed to get within one indicate in a final minutes. The Thunder took a 49-46 lead into a mangle after Shane Battier missed a 3-point try usually before a buzzer.

Miami finally went in front again in a third, Wade attack a span of giveaway throws and James rifling a pass to him after a miscarry for a basket that finished it 50-49, and a Heat would play from in front for many of a residue of a period.

Notes: Heat boss and former manager Pat Riley was respected before a diversion with a “Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award” by a National Basketball Coaches Association. Riley is a usually manager to win Coach of a Year honors with 3 opposite teams. … Battier came in 11 for 15 from 3-point operation in a series, tied with Orlando’s Rashard Lewis in 2009 for a many creates ever in a initial 3 games of a finals. He finished usually one. The many by 4 games is Derek Harper in 1994, with 14.

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