Coming in to Game 4 at the AT&T Center, all of the pressure was on the Miami Heat. Miami was embarrassed by the San Antonio Spurs in Game 3 and they needed to come out strong and make a statement that they were not ready to lay down and find themselves in to a 3-1 hold. Unfortunately for the Heat, things started off rough by they got better by the end of the first quarter and Miami then took control on their way to evening the NBA Finals.
San Antonio was able to jump out to an early ten point lead with a flurry of three-pointers that reminded us all of the record-breaking Game 3 performance, but the Heat settled down and were able to cut the lead. Strong first quarter performances from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, the Heat closed out the quarter on an impressive run to take a 29-26 lead into the second.
James and Wade combined for 21 of the Heat’s 29 points on 82 percent shooting. This is exactly the kind of start they needed in Game 4 to find their rhythm and avoid a crazy run by San Antonio. The 29 points from Miami was their highest scoring quarter of the finals.
Wade was an early standout on both ends of the floor.
In the second quarter, the Miami Heat defense really took control early. It was the one element of their game that had been lacking throughout the first few games of the series, so the Heat were rolling on all cylinders. Midway through the second quarter, LeBron passed Hakeem Olajuwan for 10th on the postseason all-time scoring list.
Neat the end of the first half, the Heat went ice cold and San Antonio received a spark from their crowd as they closed the deficit and got the game to a 49-49 tie heading in to halftime.
Chris Bosh did have a powerful throwdown right as time expired, but the instant replay showed it was clearly after the buzzer had sounded.
The impressive defense continued to stand out for both sides as the game became increasingly physical leading in to the final minutes of the third quarter. Heading in to the final 12 minutes of regulation, the Heat held a five-point lead, 81-76, despite Danny Green’s best efforts to close the gap as he continued his historic three-point shooting performance throughout these finals.
San Antonio was starting to close the gap, but Wade came up with another huge steal — his fifth of the night — and took the ball coast to coast for the big jam to extend the lead back to nine. For the Spurs it was their 16th turnover at the time, which had led to 21 points.
With just five minutes remaining, the Heat had continued to pull away and held their largest lead of the night at 15 points. Miami stayed in complete control for the fourth quarter and most of the second half after shutting down Tony Parker, and when you add that to Wade’s incredible performance you didn’t need to look at the scoreboard to know who came out on top.
When the final buzzer sounded, Miami evened up the series at two games a piece with a 109-93 win.
All three members of Miami’s Big Three showed up tonight. Wade and LeBron had over 30 points a piece, while Chris Bosh recorded his third straight double-double.
It was unbelievable to finally see the Dwyane Wade of old this game and great for NBA fans to have at least one additional game guaranteed.
This was a huge game for the Heat and they needed to come away with the victory. For them to rise up like they were able to do and put together their best all-around performance of the series has to be comforting to the team and their fans.
The Heat and Spurs return to action on Sunday at 8:00 p.m. ET. For the full statistics from tonight’s game, click here.