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Lots of Heat-Thunder Game 3 postscripts, reaction

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."

Comments

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Leo

Lebron is carrying Wade. Wade cannot shoot anymore from the outside. Sad to see.

Tyreke

And Wade's ball-handling hasn't been much better.

Lt. Lois Einhorn

Nothing drastic has changed with Wade, he's been gradually getting older and losing spring in his legs but that happens to every player eventually.

His handle has always been sloppy, that's why the Heat bother with a point guard like Chalmers.

His shot is the same as it's ever been - better when he's seeing the ball go in at the stripe or at the rim. Only difference is that the Heat have been playing much smarter basketball in the playoffs - more ball movement, less hero ball, and less outside jumpers.

Dashi

Agreed with everything, Even on Wade's shooting Ability. Good FT Shooting but bad Outside Shot.

Except 1 thing, Wade still has handle's. What 1 play none of his teammate's come back for the ball or to set a Screen on Sef? And He lost it. He can't Break Ankles

We forget everytime he splits a double team, His Timmy 2 Step then Drive, And That Whirlpool Fade Away going in. I believe Wade has that MJ skillset. Great Scoring 2 Guard that can Pass or play the 1 if need be. MJ was taller and More Durable, also MJ jumped about 6 more inches So don't take it literal please.

Lebron is Carrying Spo. Let's go heat and Win Game 4.

D-Rod

Wade is injured, of that there is little doubt. Surgery in the off-season wouldn't surprise me.But what is never mentioned is this:

Dwyane has not continued expanding his game in about 3 full seasons, and in some startling ways has regressed. I have also always said Shaq in many ways was the worst thing that happened to him. Showing him the turn it on/off switch. Disrespecting the head coaches (Shaq-Van Gundy and the famous Riley confrontation).

When Wade publicly stated that he didn't necessarily want to play for Pat Reily, after winning in 2006 together, I didn't like that. Not play for a legend and leader of your sport, and this franchise? This wassn't your 2004 playoffs D-Wade anymore Toto.

His reluctance to ever play Point Guard "at times" back then, where it would come in oh-so handy right now with his injury and slowed burst. Make players around you better using your experience.

1) He used to be an amazingly good mid-range shooter, using the bank shot like not many I had ever seen before. He would maximize that 18ft shot with really good shooting mechanics. The more people said he didn't have an outside shot, he would obviously show with that aspect of his game. Now, his fade away left/right/back shots are rarely ever mechanically sound. And when they are, he usually makes them.

2) His lack of 3 point shot development has been disappointing and mainly for the reason above. He has a mechanically sound natural shot to that distance. Yet he hasn't yet worked on it to the point where he can employ consistently during his game.
If he could get to even a 35% that would be huge for his aging game.

3) Being a ball handler as much as he has always been, his TOs are high, but only statistically, not practically. He was always reliable to close out games via the dribble, drive, or pass. For far too long now, before this injury, he began playing with a nonchalance and disregard for the ball, and the other teams defender. It's often as if he can't believe the man on him is actually trying to take that dangling ball that is being hung irreverently in his face. The lazy passes and blatant what are you doing passes.

4) His defense is still solid, but when he is engaged and hustling, not arguing, fishing for fouls.

Wade must get more fundamental. Take better mechanically sound shots, take care of each possession with more focus that many times disappears He's human, I do know this. But since 2009, his game has stagnated (all be it I do not want anyone else), some areas, have gone backward.

*His shot blocking has not wavered. My favorite part of his game. His contesting of shots at the rim. Gifted player, a natural you would have to say.

QCao1

DWade, how about going hoop shooting with Battier after season's over instead of playing in Olympics ?

I think we can lay off Dwayne over his ball handling. His ball recovery is amazingly quick. he can lose handle and then went after a ball faster than the guy(s) covering him.

Tonight is yours, DWade. Game 4. All yours.

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