This Is The Miami Heat Team That Will Win The NBA Title
The pressure was squarely on the shoulders of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh prior to game two of the NBA Finals. The Miami Heat put together a lackluster second half in Tuesday’s game one and left many questioning whether Miami had the fortitude to keep up with the young and determined Oklahoma City Thunder. On Thursday night, the Heat trio answered the call and staved off a late rally to win 100-96 to even the series and steal home court with three games upcoming in South Beach.
After a somewhat erratic performance in game one, James was the modicum of consistency throughout the contest. He knocked down all 12 of his free throws and scored 32 points. He was not afraid to take the ball straight to the basket and had the determined look of a champion that was not there at the beginning of this series.
“We had played too well in the first 36 minutes to try to let this one slip away from us,” James said. “We just wanted to make one more, two more plays than they made and come out with a victory and we were able to do that.”
Miami led by as many as 17 in the second half, but Oklahoma City had another furious run in them in the fourth quarter. Kevin Durant barely missed in the second half, but his jumper that would have tied the game with 9.9 seconds left fell short and the Heat barely avoided blowing another double-digit lead.
What was the difference? A heightened sense of urgency, assertiveness, defense and aggression. Oh, and Miami got the old Dwyane Wade back.
After his struggles from the Eastern Conference Finals carried over into game one, Wade’s killer instinct re-emerged on Thursday. He went into the lane and hit big shot after big shot, especially in the fourth quarter. He shot 7-19 in game one but was 10-20 in the second game with 24 points.
“Just know that I’m always going to keep coming back until I don’t play this game no more,” Wade said. “I know my abilities, I know what I’m capable of and it was good.”
What else was working for the Heat? Chris Bosh playing what’s being referred to as “starter’s minutes” for the first time in a while and thriving. Bosh completely dominated Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison on Thursday to the tune of 16 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks and a +11 on the stat sheet. The Thunder trio had a combined 11 points and 15 rebounds. If Bosh can play at this level and totally outplay the Thunder bigs, the Heat will win the title.
This aggression, this intensity, this toughness has to carry over three more times in this series. With three games upcoming in Miami, now is the time for the LeBron James and the Heat to seize the moment and secure the NBA championship. But if they can’t continue at this pace, it’ll be another disappointing summer.