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Miami fights off late-game rally to win game two of NBA Finals

By Molly Gray, for CNN
updated 10:52 PM EDT, Tue June 19, 2012
The Miami Heat's LeBron James goes up for a shot against Oklahoma City's Nick Collison and Thabo Sefolosha during Game 2 of the 2012 NBA Finals.
The Miami Heat's LeBron James goes up for a shot against Oklahoma City's Nick Collison and Thabo Sefolosha during Game 2 of the 2012 NBA Finals.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Miami Heat win game two of the 2012 NBA Finals, 100-96
  • The Oklahoma City Thunder staged a late-game rally and came within two points of the Heat
  • The win "meant everything," said Heat forward Lebron James
  • James and Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant tied with a game-high 32 points each

(CNN) -- A fierce late-game rally by the Oklahoma City Thunder proved fruitless Thursday night as the Miami Heat held out to win game two of the 2012 NBA Finals 100-96, tying the series, 1-1.

The Thunder, who faced a double-digit deficit for most of the game, brought the score to within two points with 12 seconds remaining in the game, but it was too little too late.

Three-time MVP LeBron James led the Heat with 32 points. Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, the remaining members of the "Big Three," put in 24 and 16 points respectively, to lift the Heat in Oklahoma.

"(This win) meant everything," James told reporters following the game. "We played too well in the first 36 minutes to let this slip away from us. We just wanted to make one more or two more plays than they did."

James was clutch in the final seconds of the game, forcing a Durant miss and sinking two free throws to clinch the victory. The forward was perfect from the line, making 12 free throws.

Shane Battier was a key part of the Heat's attack, sinking five three-point shots.

"He's been a huge lift for us," James said, noting also Battier's strong defensive performance.

The Thunder were led by former Rookie-of-the-Year Kevin Durant who tied James with a game-high 32 points.

However, guard Russell Westbrook, a leading scorer in game one, made only 10 of his 26 attempted buckets.

The entire Oklahoma team had cold hands to start the game, quickly falling behind 18-2. Guard James Harden fought back with 17 points in the first half, but simmered out, adding only four points in the second half.

Despite the loss, Thunder coach Scott Brooks said he was proud of the way his team rallied in the second half.

"I love the way that we came back and fought," Brooks told reporters. "It's tough to make up 17 points."

Game three is set for Sunday night in Miami.

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