Page last updated on Tue Mar 31 11:33:24 EDT 2015
06/14/2013 1:25 AM EDT
Big 3 help Heat even NBA Finals with Spurs

AP Basketball Writer

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Miami Heat owner Micky Arison had a message
as he walked to the winning locker room.

"The death of the Big Three was overrated," he said.

Sure was. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, his three
prized players, are just fine.

So are the Heat's championship hopes.

Riding big performances from their three All-Stars, the Heat
tied the NBA Finals with a 109-93 victory over the San Antonio
Spurs on Thursday night in Game 4.

"It was on our shoulders," James said. "We had to figure out how
to win the game for us and play at the highest level. When all
three of us are clicking we're very tough to beat."

James had 33 points and 11 rebounds after failing to break 20
points in any of the first three games of the series, and Wade
scored 32 points, 11 more than his previous high this

Bosh matched his playoff high with 20 points and grabbed 13
rebounds, he and Wade supplying the baskets that finally put the
Spurs away for good midway through the fourth quarter.

Three players, 85 points. Just the way the Heat envisioned it
when they signed James and Bosh to play with Wade in 2010.

"When Bosh, Wade and James score the way they did tonight and
shoot it the way they did tonight, a team is going to have a
difficult time if you help them like we did," Spurs coach Gregg
Popovich said.

"When those guys are playing like that, you better be playing a
perfect game."

The Spurs weren't, committing 19 turnovers that led to 23

And just like they have for the last five months, the Heat
bounced back from a loss with a victory. They are 12-0 after
defeats since Jan. 10, outscoring opponents by an average of
nearly 20 points in the previous 11 victories.

Tim Duncan scored 20 points for the Spurs, who have one more
game here on Sunday. They fell to 10-3 at home all-time in the
finals, failing to back up their 113-77 victory in Game 3 that
was the third-most lopsided score in the history of the
championship series.

James insisted he would be better after shooting 7 of 21 from
the field with no free throws in that game, saying he was the
star and it was his job to lead his team. He was 15 of 25 on

But while James - and millions of critics worldwide - wanted to
pile all the pressure on the league's MVP, it was Wade on
Wednesday who said it was the Heat's three All-Stars who had to
lead them together, or there would be no championship.

He was right. And now those championship hopes are right back on

"It was all about myself, Chris and LeBron coming out and
leading this team to a victory," Wade said.

"The thing we talked about is we all have to make an impact in
this game, somehow, some way."

Wade shot 14 of 25, adding six steals, six rebounds and four
assists in a performance that James compared to when Wade was
MVP of the 2006 finals.

Tony Parker had 15 points and nine assists for the Spurs, who
made a finals-record 16 3-pointers on Tuesday but got up only 16
attempts in this one. Gary Neal scored 13 points and Danny Green
had 10, solid nights but nothing like when they combined for 13
3-pointers two nights earlier.

"They play very aggressive defense," Parker said. "They gamble
and they take a lot of chances, and tonight it worked."

The Heat guaranteed they will get at least one more game on
their home floor. Game 6 will be Tuesday night, where they could
have a chance to celebrate a second straight championship.

The revelry in south Florida was marred Thursday by an accident
in which the deck behind a popular sports bar collapsed during
the game, spilling patrons into Biscayne Bay. Miami Dade Fire
Chief David Downey said 24 people were transported to area
hospitals, and that two people were in serious condition.

"We share our concerns for all that was injured at Shuckers
restaurant," Wade said as he started his postgame news

Wade, battling right knee pain throughout the spring, helped the
Heat put it away in the fourth quarter. He followed a basket
with a steal and dunk, pushing the lead to 90-81, and after he
made another jumper, Bosh scored the next six Heat points,
taking the load off of James.

"We're not going to put him on an island," Bosh said. "He's
never alone. We're out there with him."

The Heat switched their lineup, inserting Mike Miller, who made
10 of his 11 shots, going 9 of 10 on 3-pointers, in the first
three games of the series. They changed uniforms, too, switching
from their road reds to their blacks.

The only change they really needed was in the performances of
their Big Three.

James called it a "must-win" and it probably was: No team has
overcome a 3-1 deficit in the finals.

And the way their three stars played, they couldn't lose.

The Heat blocked shots, made stops, and occasionally flopped,
playing with renewed aggression after what coach Erik Spoelstra
called a "miserable" day of watching and analyzing their passive
performance from Tuesday.

They still haven't lost two in a row since Jan. 8 and 10.

Parker played through a strained right hamstring, shooting 7 of
16, but the Spurs couldn't match the Heat's speed.

After the teams traded blowouts in the previous two games,
momentum swung wildly in a first half that ended tied at 49. San
Antonio raced to a quick 10-point lead, fell behind by 10 with 7
minutes left in the half, then finished with an 11-2 spurt
sparked by reserve Boris Diaw. Bosh dove for a dunk that came
just after the buzzer, Spurs owner Peter Holt waving it off from
his seat along the sideline.

James rocked back and forth during the national anthem, a bundle
of energy ready to get going. It took a few minutes after the
game started, but he began playing with the speed and power that
can make him unguardable, grabbing rebounds on defense and
rushing the ball up the floor himself to get the Heat into their

He and Wade combined to make 10 of 11 shots and score 21 points
in the first quarter, helping the Heat erase their early
10-point deficit to go ahead 29-26.

Popovich even lit into Duncan during an early second-quarter
timeout with Miami on its way to a 41-31 advantage, but the
Spurs had it back to even by the time the teams headed to the
locker room.

Notes: Sebastien De La Cruz, an 11-year-old mariachi singer,
sang the national anthem again after his Game 3 performance set
off a barrage of racist tweets by what Popovich called "idiots."
Popovich and Spoelstra congratulated him at midcourt after his
performance, which earned him a rousing ovation. ... James
passed Hakeem Olajuwon (3,755 points) and John Havlicek (3,776)
to move into ninth place in career playoff scoring. James has
3,777. James has 3,777.


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