That game was pretty amazing last night. It was the best basketball game that I have watched in a while. By the end of the game, the Heat are on the brink of the second championship in franchise history. Their 104-98 victory put them up 3-1 in the series. The Thunder really screwed themselves many times during the game and the way this game ended was bad.
OKC jumped out to a 17 point lead in the first quarter and they somehow gave most of it up my halftime. Russell Westbrook came out firing and was shooting aggressively and accurately. For the first time in this series, he stopped shooting mostly jumpers, he attacked the basket for the majority of his points. He still jacked up a couple of jump shots, but less than usual, and also, these shots actually went in this time.
Part of the reason why Miami was able to come back into the game was Norris Cole. Mr. Flat Top partied like it was 1999 at the end of the 1st and the beginning of the 2nd quarter when Erik Spoelstra decided that the deficit was so big that he was forced to bring Cole to jack up some 3-pointers. He scored 8 points int he 8 minutes that he was allowed on the floor, and when the Heat pulled it together with the help from his 2 3s, Spo pulled him right out of there. After the first, Miami was down 33-19 and was only down by 3 at the half.
Fast Forward to the end of the game. The game was very tight in the 4th quarter, and with 5:15 left, this happened. Lebron James got the largest recorded case of the cramps ever. He measured an 8.3 on the Cramp Richter Scale. He was out of the game until the 4:05 mark at which point he came back into the game.
With 2:50 left, he hit the biggest shot of his career. One-legged LeBron might just end up being his signature oment in his career. This is his flu game. All he needed was the wheelchair to go with it. He was limping when he came into the game, and with a minute left, he realized that it was stupid to keep playing. It was a 4-on-5 game with him dragging his leg all around the court.
Speaking of cramps, Russell Westbrook. I love him, and he played an amazing game last night. Had he not played the way that he did, this situation wouldn't have happened. With 17 seconds left, Miami had the ball with 1 second left on the shot clock when James Harden got tied up with Udonis Haslem and a jump ball was called. First of all, Harden should have left Haslem alone for a 24 second violation, but I can't blame him because he was just trying to make the best play. The NBA rule says that in a jump ball situation, if the offensive team retains possession, the shot clock continues or resets to 5 seconds, whichever is greater. Personally I think that this rule is stupid because it gives an extra 5 seconds to the offensive team after the defense had already shut them down for the 24 seconds. Miami won the tip and Russell Westbrook decided to foul Mario Chalmers when he got the ball. This is because he didn't see that the clock reset to 5, and his reaction at the 0:18 mark showed just how confused he was by this rule. According to ESPN's Ric Bucher, he heard Scott Brooks yell this rule out to his team, so it seems that Westbrook and Brooks just had a miscommunication. Westbrook had a historically great game, with 43 points on 20 of 32 shooting, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, but all of this may not be remembered because of 1 braincramp.
On a side note, this was the best part of the night.
Kevin Durant did not play a good game. He did in fact end with 28 points, but he needed to be more aggressive and more assertive. He did not act like the 3-time scoring champion. Russell Westbrook looked like the only guy on the team that wanted to win. I predicted that Durant would go off for 40 points because he knew the situation required for his team to come out with a win, and he is smart enough to know that he should be taking charge and doing most of the scoring. Well, I was wrong.
James Harden. That's all I'm going to say about him.
The Heat's Big 3 last night did not include Chris Bosh. For some reason, it was LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Mario Chalmers. It wasn't just 3 pointers, but he actually scored 25 points. He went 3 for 9 on 3s, and 9 for 15 overall. Yes, he scored 25 points and the only shots he missed were 3s. He actually attacked the basket and played like a slasher, just like Dwyane Wade. If he can play like this consistently, the Miami Heat are a very, very scary team.
I won't be surprised if the Oklahoma City Thunder win in Game 5, but I do think that the end is very near for them.