LeBron James was the better superstar in the fourth quarter of Game 3. James had eight points (2 for 4 shooting) and four rebounds in the fourth; Kevin Durant had four points (2 for 6 shooting) and one rebound.
“Last year, I didn’t make enough game-changing plans,” James said afterward. “I pride myself on that. Just trying to step up in the key moments and be there for my teammates.”
James closed with 29 points (11 for 23) and 14 rebounds. Durant had 25 points (11 for 19) and six rebounds. James' streak of five consecutive 30-plus point playoff games ended, but it didn't matter. He was very, very good. As usual.
"He's a totally different player" from last year's Finals, Dwyane Wade said. "He was thinking too much [last year]. Now he's playing very aggressive. I love when he's attacking the basket because good things happen for us. That's the difference from last year and the difference for our team."
“I try to do a little bit of everything, where I’m not just isolating,” James said. “It’s a good mixture of what I have right now.”
### Wade has said the team is still drawing on the experience of losing last year’s Finals. “We talk about it all the time,” James said. “It has been a great teacher for us, the experience.”
Said Wade: "Nothing is promised. You can't always say we have next year, because you never know what can happen. Last year, I don't know if we were experienced enough as a unit to deal with what came at us, and it showed. We're a more experienced team. It's not saying we want it more, but we understand the situations more and can deal with it better. Experience is not overrated at all. Tonight, that helped us. We were down 10 and kept grinding and grinding.
"We feel like every series, we've gotten better. We're not a satisfied team at all. It was an ugly game. We can't wait to look at the film to see where we can get better. We're more confident. We've seen almost everything, and we're able to adapt and adjust. Dallas was an unbelievable offensive team and they picked us apart and we weren't able to regroup. This team is a great offensive team and we feel like when they're picking us apart, our conversation is different. We understand a little different."
### Durant made 6 of his first 8 shots with James guarding him, but James obstructed Durant on two badly-missed 10-foot jumpers in the final 2:20. Durant shot 1 for 5 with James guarding him in the fourth. Durant also missed two free throws in the fourth. He was in foul trouble in the second half, picking up his fifth with 3:47 left. "Unfortunately, I'm getting some fouls called on me," Durant said. "I've got to play smarter the next game."
### According to ESPN, Durant shot 11 for 17 when Shane Battier defended him in the first two games of the series. But Battier guarded him only briefly in Game 3, with Durant missing his only shot during that time.
### The Heat won despite shooting 37.8 percent, the worst shooting percentage in a Finals win since the Lakers shot 32.5 percent in Game 7 of the 2010 series. It also was the second-lowest field goal percentage in a postseason game that the Heat has won in team history - better only than the 36.5 percent in an overtime win at New York in May 2000.
### Amazing: The Heat shot just 5 for 31 outside the paint. The 16.1 percentage is the worst by an NBA Finals team in 15 years, according to ESPN. The Heat shot 1 for 8 outside the paint in the third quarter and 1 for 7 in the fourth. James for 2 for 9 outside the pain and Wade and Chris Bosh were each 0 for 5. But Miami was 23 for 43 inside the paint.
### Wade matched Durant's 25 points - including 14 in the second half - but missed 14 of 22 shots. He made several terrific passes (seven assists) but also had five turnovers. "I had some shots I normally make that I didn't make."
### The Heat went 31 for 35 from the line; the Thunder – which led the league in free throw percentage during the season – shot just 15 for 24.
“We’ve got to do a better job defending them without fouling,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “Kevin had five fouls on him, only four free throws. He has to be able to get to the free-throw line. That’s when we’re at our best.”
### Also key: Miami outrebounded OKC, 13-6, in the fourth. Each team had 32 rebounds after three quarters. OKC has the bigger team, but the Heat has won the rebounding battle in the past two games.
“We don’t care about teams being bigger than us,” James said. “We don’t feel it’s a disadvantage.... It’s will and determination.”
### After Durant hit a turnaround over Wade in the first half, "He said [to me] I'm too small." Wade did a double-take and asked Durant what he said. "He's got seven inches on me," Wade noted.
### The Thunder was ahead by six when Durant left with his fourth foul with 5:41 left in the third. Brooks then removed Russell Westbrook from the game 40 seconds left.
The Thunder lead grew to 10, but the Heat then ended the third with a 15-3 run – all with OKC’s two stars on the bench. “I knew we weren’t playing our game,” James said. “They made us stagnant. We didn’t play good to start the third. We can’t do that. It shows our character we were able to come back from that.”
It didn’t help that Serge Ibaka and Derek Fisher fouled Shane Battier and James Jones on three-point shots, which resulted in six free throws and fueled the Heat rally late in the third.
### Why would Brooks remove Westbrook from the game for five minutes with Durant also on the bench? “You’ve got to rest guys sooner or later,” Brooks said. Also, “Russell had a bad stretch of about three or four possessions. I took him out to kind of calm him down.”
### Game 3 marked the sixth time in these playoffs that the Heat has rallied from a double-digit deficit to win a playoff game.... The Heat is 12-0 this postseason when leading after three quarters and 50-5 including the regular season.... With nine more points, James will break Wade's team record for points in a postseason.
### Battier was limited to two shots but made both (both threes) and is now 11 for 15 on threes in The Finals. "It's kind of weird because I'm a stretch four [power forward] now and the most comfortable I have been on this team all year has been at that position giving up 50 pounds," Battier said. "I can't explain it."