The Miami Heat defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 91-85 Sunday night
The Heat are now up 2-1 in the seven-game NBA Finals
A missed three-pointer by Russell Westbrook in the final minute of Sunday’s game signaled the end of a fierce back-and-forth between the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder in game three of the 2012 NBA Finals.
The shot, which could have tied the game and 88 all, led to a fast break and free throws from the Heat, who went on to win 91-85.
The Heat now lead two games to one in the best of seven series.
The two teams battled closely all night, entering the second half with a one-point Miami lead, 47-46. However, the Thunder weren’t able to fight back after the Heat went on a six-point run with only three minutes remaining in the game.
Westbrook said the game, which was played in Miami, wasn’t about one play or series of plays but rather a lot of small mistakes.
“Just little things … giving them easy layups,” Westbrook told reporters after the game. “We’ve got to cut that down.”
However, Oklahoma City’s final minutes were marred with sloppy play. In addition to Westbrook’s missed shot, forward Kevin Durant missed a short jumper and guard Thabo Sefolosha turned the ball over.
“We turned the ball over in that second half too many times,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “They made some plays down the stretch that we did not make.”
Miami forward LeBron James, who lead the game in points and rebounds with 29 and 14 respectively, had several key defensive rebounds leading up to the final buzzer.
“That’s one thing I’m proud of. Last year I didn’t make enough game-changing plays,” James said. “I’m just trying to step up and be there for my teammates.”
Despite foul trouble late in the game, Durant had a team-high 25 points and remained positive going into the rest of the series.
“Unfortunately I get a lot of fouls called on me but I have to play through it,” Durant said. “Hopefully next game I will play smarter and get fewer fouls.”
One point where the teams were decidedly unmatched Sunday night was on free throw shots. The Heat racked up 31 points from the line, while Oklahoma City managed just 15.
Forward Chris Bosh for the Heat, credits his team’s aggressiveness for the volume of free throw attempts.
“Being aggressive. That’s what we want to do,” Bosh told reporters. “We want to put pressure to the rim.”
Game four tips off Tuesday night in Miami.