MIAMI - Agence France-Presse
Miami Heat’s LeBron James (R) goes up for a basket against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half in Game 4 of the NBA finals in Miami, Florida.
A hobbled LeBron James hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 2:51 to play Tuesday as the Miami Heat rallied to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-98 to move within one victory of the NBA title.
James had 26 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds, while Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers each scored 25 points for the Heat -- who took a 3-1 stranglehold on the best-of-seven championship series.
“Four or five plays, that’s what this series is coming down to,” said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra. “That is what this game came down to.
“This is competition at its fiercest.” The Heat, who won the title in 2006, can win their second championship in franchise history with a victory in game five on Thursday in Miami.
With James on the bench suffering from bad leg cramps in the fourth, Chalmers helped secure the victory with a layup with 44 seconds left that made it 101-96.
The victory spoiled a brilliant offensive performance by Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who finished with a game-high 43 points.
Kevin Durant had 28 points for the Thunder, who got off to their best start of the series in the first quarter but couldn’t execute as well as the Heat down the stretch.
“They made a few extra plays down the stretch,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “Experience has nothing to do with it. We never use that as an excuse.
“LeBron came back in after his injury and made a great play, made a tough three, and they made some plays at the end.”
“We were just trying to stay in attack mode,” Westbrook said. “Shots were falling. But it really doesn’t mean nothing. We didn’t come out with the win.” For the first time since game one of the series, Durant wasn’t in foul trouble in the third. He had just two fouls heading into the final quarter so was able to stay in the game during key stretches as the Thunder kept the score close.