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LeBron James needed some help, Dwyane Wadeand Chris Bosh provided it.
The Miami Heat finally rediscovered the formula to winning in the NBA Finals with a 100-96 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night.
James had another finals career high with 32 points, Wade rebounded from a poor opener to add 24 and the Heat built a huge early lead before holding off a furious fourth-quarter rally behind their three All-Stars to beat the Thunder, tying the series at one game apiece.
Bosh had 16 points and 15 rebounds in his return to the starting lineup for the Heat, who snapped a four-game finals losing streak with their first victory since Game 3 against Dallas last year.
“It’s been so long since we’ve had them all together,” Heat forwardShane Battier said. “They played like the All-Stars that they are and that’s the effort that we need.”
Now they go home to host Game 3 on Sunday and the next two after that, knowing they don’t have to hear the noisy Thunder fans again — not to mention all their critics — if they win all three.
“We’ve been down. We’ve withstood rallies. The good thing about it, when they scored, we didn’t get our head down. We just got back on offence and started to execute,” James said. “It’s a great team that we’re going against. So we’re going to need every effort, every play and it’s going to take all the way down to zeroes on that clock to get a win.”
Kevin Durant scored 32 points for the Thunder, but missed a shot after appearing to be bumped with James that would have tied a game the Thunder trailed the entire way. Russell Westbrook finished with 27 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, but shot 10 of 25 from the field.