Big 3 Turning Into The Big 4? Mario Motherfucking Chalmers Leads Heat To Game 4 Victory. Heat Now 1 Win Away From Capturing The Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.
Game 5 is scheduled Thursday on ABC with a tip-off set for 9:00 pm (ET).
Win Or Go Home.
Check the jump for a full recap as well as video highlights from the game.
Tuesday night, we were once again back in Miami as the Oklahoma City Thunder looked to even the series. Fresh out the game, the Thunder came out to quick 13-3 lead led by Russell Westbrook who would score 10 of Oklahoma City’s 33 in the first quarter. The Thunder who played with their signature fast paced style out in the open floor for easy transition scores were finally having a good start for the first time in the series. With Bron & Wade struggling early, Heat rookie Norris Cole would come up big for them as he scored 5 points including a last second 3 pointer to keep the game respectable by the quarters end.
Skipping to the 2nd quarter, Norris Cole set the start of a big Heat run by hitting a 3 pointer credited LBJ assist. Miami would soon go on a 16-2 run to tie the game. On the next ensuing possessions, the Heat would encounter their first scare of the game as Dwyane Wade was rejected by Serge Ibaka and landed awkwardly on his lower back but he would ignore the pain and continue play. At the one minute mark, Miami was down by a point but Thabo Sefolosha would miss a layup as Russell Westbrook would clean up the miss with a put back dunk. Westbrook had 18 by halftime looking to quiet all of his critics from constant scrutiny of not being a true point guard.
Going into the 3rd quarter, the Heat were down a trey ball after previously training by 17 points. We would soon be watching the James and Wade show as they scored 20 of Miami’s 33 third quarter points. LBJ would soon have the play of the game grabbing an offensive board then throwing a no look one handed pass to the cutting Wade for an easy deuce on his 9th assist of the game. Shortly after that OKC would get the first points outside of the big 3 in nearly 17 minutes as Serge Ibaka made a 10-foot jumper. James would close the quarter scoring the Heat’s last 8 points. On the last possession of the quarter, Westbrook would score a transition jumper from a LeBron miss, but James Jones would pick up loose ball foul on Kevin Durant giving OKC a free point. The Thunder were down by 7 with just a little over 2 minutes remaining but Durant and Westbrook managed to keep their team within single digits with lack of contributions in scoring from their teammates. No other player outside of Durant and Harden scored double digits.
To the 4th quarter we go, OKC would come out led by Westbrook who scored 13 straight points for his team to tie the game. Super Mario Chalmers would put his imprint in the game scoring 12 of the last 25 Miami Heat points. Just past the 6-min. mark, Miami would get their second scare of the game as LeBron would suffer an injury with cramps to his right leg. As LeBron was seen grimacing from pain on the floor, OKC quickly jumped into transition from the LBJ turnover led by Derek Fisher but he would soon be blocked by Wade. James who looked up and noticed the Heat had the ball would score an easy deuce from a Chalmers assist. He would limp off the court shorty after and take a short rest to stretch out his leg. James checked back in 90 seconds later and hit the biggest shot of the night netting a 3-pointer to put his team back up three. Miami no longer looked behind as they managed to keep the lead the rest of the way.
Russell Westbrook had one of the greatest NBA Finals performances ever scoring a game high 43 points, 7 boards and 5 dimes. He’s took his fair share of criticism the last 2 games but after his memorable game 4 performance that was overshadowed by a Heat win, he’s quieted all doubters including myself. Kevin Durant who was the only player in double-digits for the Thunder, would finish with 28 points shooting 9 of 9 from the stripe. The stat-line shows LBJ was the player of the game for Miami, but the real player of the game was Mario Chalmers who finished with 25 points. Along with Norris Cole, he helped lead Miami back into the game when they were down 17 points in the first half becoming the heart of game 4. LBJ finished just shy of triple-double with 26 points, 12 dimes and 9 boards while Dwyane Wade matched Chalmers 25. The Thunder outscored Miami’s bench 14-11 but starters Ibaka, Perkins and Sefolosha combined only to score 13 points. Game 4 was the third straight game where the score close in the final minutes with the Thunder coming short. Heading into game 5 I expect James Harden to have a better as he’s been struggling the entire series. Last night he went 2-10 scoring only 8 points and shot 1-5 from long distance. Game 5 now turns into a must win situation for the OKC Thunder with their season now on the line. In 9 years of NBA play, LeBron James is now closer to his first NBA Title than ever and now has the chance to close out the series Thursday night. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen people as I still can’t put anything past OKC as they’ve been streaky with jump-shots this series.
Heat Lead 3-1
Game 1: Oklahoma City 105, Miami 94
Game 2: Miami 100, Oklahoma City 96
Game 3: Miami 91, Oklahoma City 85
Game 4: Miami 104, Oklahoma City 98
Game 5: at MIA, Thu. June 21, 9 p.m., ABC
Game 6: at OKC, Sun. June 24, 8 p.m., ABC (If Necessary)
Game 7: at OKC, Tue. June 26, 9 p.m., ABC (If Necessary)
Bonus: Chalmers On Heat’s Game 4 Win--