Heat get Big 3 back, top Thunder 108-103By JEFF LATZKE, AP Sports Writer Sunday, Jan 30, 2011
Yet none of those stars came away with the biggest shot of the game.
Eddie House(notes) hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 22.2 seconds left, then added two free throws to seal the Miami Heat’s 108-103 victory in a Sunday showcase in which their All-Star triumvirate played together for the first time in nearly three weeks.
“Any time Eddie raises and shoots, you think it’s going in,” Wade said. “He’s one of those guys that look for the moment.”
Wade scored 32 points, James added 23 points and 13 rebounds and Bosh had 20 points—and coach Erik Spoelstra pulled the right string by putting House into the lineup during a timeout after Kevin Durant’s(notes) jumper had put the Thunder up 103-102 with 34.3 seconds left.
“He’s a unique player because he’s ready and ignitable without rhythm minutes. Not many players in this league, you can do that,” Spoelstra said. “You throw him in, he hasn’t played, if he’s been sitting for a while, he feels like he’s hot.”
Durant scored 33 points but missed a contested jumper along the left baseline with 15 seconds left that would’ve tied it. Jeff Green(notes) had 23 points and 11 rebounds, and Russell Westbrook(notes) added 21 points and 10 assists as Oklahoma City’s top three scorers all reached 20 points for just the third time this season.
It still wasn’t enough to match a similar performance from Miami’s Big 3, who all eclipsed 20 points in the same game for the 11th time. The Heat are 9-2 when that happens.
“I don’t look at it as the ‘big three.’ They may look at it like that over there, but over here we’re a whole group,” Durant said.
After House’s go-ahead 3, James contested Durant’s attempt to tie it at the other end and Nick Collison(notes) swatted the rebound toward midcourt. Wade tracked it down and got fouled, hit his first free throw before missing the second, and that rebound was initially awarded to the Thunder after it went out of bounds under the basket with 6.9 seconds left.
James walked back to the huddle saying confidently, “It’s our ball”—and a replay proved him right. The ball deflected off Collison, and House hit two free throws to close it out.
“We don’t take moral victories here. We wanted to win that game,” Durant said. “We had the game won and we just didn’t. Moral victories have been out the door for two years now.”
Bosh had been sidelined four games with a sprained left ankle and Wade had missed two of those game due to migraine headaches and a wrist injury. Before that, James missed two games, also with a sprained left ankle. It had been since Jan. 12 that all three played together.
“It felt good to have guys back. It threw us off a little bit early. We hadn’t played with each other for a while. But with Chris coming back early, to try to gut it out and go tonight, we needed just to get wins,” Wade said. “Hopefully, we can build on it.”
The Heat had been scuffling, losing five of six before beating Detroit by a point Friday night on James Jones’(notes) disputed block of Austin Daye’s(notes) dunk at the buzzer. Oklahoma City, meeanwhile, had lost three of four and then needed overtime to beat Minnesota and Washington—both in last place—in their last two games.
Wade staked the Heat to their largest lead by spinning away from Westbrook for a jumper along the left baseline that made it 98-90 with 5:51 to play and finished a 13-2 run.
But Wade was still upset after Serge Ibaka(notes) blocked his layup attempt on Miami’s next possession and drew a technical foul after Green got a fast-break layup at the other end that would start a 13-4 comeback for Oklahoma City.
Westbrook and Durant each hit a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to one, and the Thunder got a chance to go ahead after Bosh’s missed jumper on a failed attempt to draw a foul against Durant—with the same rip move Durant uses frequently to catch opponents reaching in against him.
Durant came around a screen and connected on a jumper from the top of the key with 34.3 seconds left to put Oklahoma City up 103-102. It was one of only two shots Durant made in 10 second-half attempts, with most of his damage coming from foul line. He was 11 for 13 in the second half and finished 16 for 19.
“We had the game won,” Durant said. “We played good defense on Wade, he missed the shot and we just couldn’t rebound. Eddie House is a big-time, big-game player. He hit a big shot, and that’s the game.”
NOTES: Bosh and Durant received a double technical in the first quarter after Bosh hacked James Harden(notes) to prevent a fast break. Westbrook got one for swinging his fist in the air after being whistled for a personal foul late in the first half. … James’ eight first-quarter assists were the most in period by a Heat player this season. … The Thunder had won six straight home games and were seeking their longest home winning streak since leaving Seattle.