clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Rewind: Heat grab 3-1 lead on Thunder

Despite suffering cramps, LeBron James hit a big 3-pointer.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat Al Diaz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

We’re continuing our look back at classic Miami Heat games. Find our last rewind — when LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined to score 70 points to even the series against the Indiana Pacers in 2012 — here.

For our fourth entry, we go back to June 19, 2012. After losing the first game of the Finals to the Oklahoma City Thunder — who had three future MVPs in Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden — Miami had won the next two games. Playing on their home court, the Heat had a chance to go up 3-1.

The Thunder came out swinging early and jumped out to an early 17-point lead. But the Heat came right back and tied the game early in the second quarter. Like Games 2 and 3, the game was close, and the team that made the decisive, late run would come out on top.

But midway through the fourth quarter, LeBron James drove to the basket and collapsed to the floor. He struggled to get up. On the other end of the court, Dwyane Wade blocked a shot by Derek Fisher. Mario Chalmers threw the ball to a hobbled LeBron, who still made a bank shot. Miami had a 92-90 lead.

A year after a disappointing performance in the 2011 NBA Finals, LeBron was suffering from cramps in the fourth quarter of a Finals game. Even so, James came back from a quick rest and had the ball in his hands with three minutes left. With the score tied at 94, he rose up and hit a 3 with 2:51 left. Miami went up by three.

With 55 seconds left, Miami held a 99-96 lead and the ball. LeBron was on the bench for this possession, barely able to move. Mario Chalmers drove to the basket and made a huge layup, giving Miami a 101-96 lead.

Westbrook made a jumper on the other end, cutting the lead to three. And on Miami’s subsequent possession, Udonis Haslem and James Harden both grabbed the ball off a Dwyane Wade miss. The referees called a jump-ball. Only 17.3 seconds remained on the game clock, and the Heat would only have five seconds to shoot if they gained possession.

Shane Battier tapped the ball to Chalmers after the jump-ball. Seemingly unaware of the shot clock, Westbrook immediately fouled Chalmers. Westbrook scored 43 points that night, but made a crucial mistake with that foul.

Chalmers made both free throws, and the Heat held on. The Heat went on to close the series in Game 5, winning their second championship in franchise history.