James, Heat best Thunder in NBA Finals rematchDec 26, 2012 - 2:57 AM Miami, FL (Sports Network) - In their first matchup since June, the Heat once again proved to be too much for the Thunder to handle.
Behind 29 points, nine assists and eight rebounds from LeBron James, the Miami Heat outlasted the Oklahoma City Thunder, 103-97, in a rematch of last season's NBA Finals.
Dwyane Wade chipped in 21 points and Mario Chalmers poured in 20 for the Heat, who captured their fifth straight win.
"Regardless of what our script is coming into the game, when you play this team, its not going to go according to script," said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra. "They are too good, they make great plays and keep coming at you. At the end of the day, you just have to find a way."
After having their 12-game win streak snapped by the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday, the Thunder have now dropped two in a row.
"We fight and we play through everything, and that's what we did tonight," said Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks. "I'm proud of our guys, we put ourselves in position to give us a chance with our good execution."
Kevin Durant paced Oklahoma City with 33 points and seven rebounds while Russell Westbrook posted 21 points and 11 boards for the Thunder, who dropped their fifth straight contest to the Heat dating back to the 2012 NBA Finals.
The Heat defeated the Thunder in five games during last season's championship round.
Oklahoma City came out slow and fell behind 15-3 just over four minutes in, but rallied late in the opening period to pull within 27-24 by quarters end.
James scored 19 of his points in the first half -- with 13 of them coming in the second quarter on a perfect 6-of-6 from the field -- to help Miami out to a 54-48 halftime advantage.
After scoring just eight points over the first two quarters, Durant came alive in the third.
He scored 11 during the period and gave the Thunder their first lead of the game at the 7:05 mark, when he drew a foul and drained a jumper while falling out of bounds. He completed the three-point play to cap a 10-0 run and put Oklahoma City on top 58-56.
From there, the lead changed hands nine times in the third, but James sank a pair of free throws with 21.5 ticks left to send the Heat into the final stanza with a 74-72 advantage.
Durant hit two from the line to tie the game at 79-79, but Chalmers knocked down back-to-back shots, including his fourth triple of the game, to cap a 7-0 spurt for the Heat.
Oklahoma City continued to chip away and Durant pulled them within one at 96-95 after splitting a pair from the line and capitalizing off a Wade turnover with a dunk at the other end.
However, James was able to find an open Chris Bosh underneath the basket for an uncontested dunk, giving the Heat a 98-95 edge with 25.5 seconds remaining.
Durant answered with a foul line jumper to bring the Thunder back to within one, but after a pair of Ray Allen free throws, he and Westbrook both misfired on triples to tie the game, sealing the win for the Heat.
Dating back to their days in Seattle, the Oklahoma City Thunder fell to 2-12 in Christmas day contests and 0-10 when they play as the visiting team ... In their last nine regular season contests, the Heat have been victorious five times ... Heat forward Mike Miller scored six points and eclipsed the 10,000- point plateau for his career in the second quarter ... James has scored at least 20 points in each of the Heat's first 25 games this season.
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 97
Dec 25 8:38 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 72
End of 3rd
Dec 25 7:47 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 48
Dec 25 6:53 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 22
End of 1st
Dec 25 6:17 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 0
1st Quarter - 11:43
Dec 25 5:48 PM
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