Oklahoma City had its chances in Game 3, taking as much as a 10-point lead in the third quarter Sunday. But turnovers, bad possessions and a Heat team determined to hold on to its home-court edge proved too much in the end.
Miami overcome a final Thunder charge in the closing minutes to win 91-85 and take a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals. Sunday was the first of three straight games in Miami. Game 4 is Tuesday night back at AmericanAirlines Arena.
"I thought that was a very intense playoff game," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought we did some good things, corrected some things going into this game, and I thought we gave ourselves a chance to win. That's what you want to do on the road.
"The game was basically anybody's ballgame that fourth quarter. We did some things, we missed some free throws. Normally we led the league in free throw shooting percentage, but we missed some free throws tonight (they made only 15 of 24) and turned the ball over in the second half too many times."
Brooks was asked if he had three keys for Oklahoma City regaining the control of the series his team had after Game 1.
"Just three? There's many more," he quipped. "Obviously, get back in transition. They're a very explosive team. They have high level athletes that get out and run and score at the basket. Protect the paint, close out Shane Battier, rebound the basketball and get out in transition ourselves.
"I don't know if that was more than three."
If the Thunder don't win the series, it won't be because they're intimidated by the stage they're on. The butterflies were long gone before the team plane touched down in Miami.
"The first game I think there was a little bit of that," Brooks said. "I think we were all like that because it was our first time in the NBA Finals. Anytime it's your first time there's not familiar surroundings or a setting.
"But I think after the second game we were fine. We just had a bad start. I don't see our guys being in awe of the moment. I think we're going to play our way that we play, aggressive, attack basketball, and hopefully we can make some shots along the way."