MIAMI: A hobbled LeBron James (in pic) hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 2:51 to play on 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.”
James nailed a three-point shot to break a 94-94 tie late in the fourth. The basket came about a minute after he had re-entered the game, having injured his left thigh earlier in the quarter when he slipped on a drive to the basket.