Heat top Spurs in NBA Finals Game 4
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
SAN ANTONIO — The Miami Heat punched back yet again, and this time they did it the old fashioned way.
With so much scrutiny surrounding LeBron James and his two not-so-super friends that once formed the most feared Big 3 in all the NBA, they joined forces in ways not often seen this postseason to down the San Antonio Spurs 109-93 in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. In doing so, they evened the series 2-2 and continued the most revealing of trends.
The Heat haven’t lost consecutive games since Jan. 10, and they entered play having won those bounce-back games by an average of 21.8 points (the closest margin of victory was 10 points). It isn’t a preferred or perfect strategy, but it is a clear sign that the defending champions refuse to stay down for long.
James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined for 85 points to level the Spurs this time, thereby quieting the masses of critics who questioned whether the trio could still have games like this. Earlier in the day, Los Angeles Lakers great and ESPN analyst Magic Johnson had said the rest of the league was catching up with the Heat, and that he anticipated offseason changes whether they won these Finals or not. There wasn’t much room for improvement in the latest outing, though.
Wade and Bosh finished what James started, sealing the game during an early fourth quarter stretch that was the closest thing to a baton-passing between relay racers that one might see in a basketball game. James went to the bench with the Heat up 86-79, and Bosh and Wade scored every Miami point during a 10-6 run that stretched their lead and inspired James to pump his fists from the sideline.
It was just the third time this postseason that James (33 points, 11 rebounds, four assists) and Wade (32 points, six steals, six rebounds) had both scored at least 20 points. James ended his three-game streak of games with less than 20 points that was his longest since his disastrous 2011 Finals loss to the Dallas Mavericks.