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Heat rout Thunder to win second NBA title

June 22, 2012

MIAMI:  The Miami Heat clinched their second NBA title by routing Oklahoma City 121-106 on Thursday thanks to a balanced offensive attack and 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds from superstar LeBron James.

James was named the Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals after leading the Heat to the crown, capturing his long-sought first championship and delivering on the promise he made to Heat fans when he came to Miami two years ago.

Mike Miller came off the bench to sink 7-of-8 shots from 3-point range and finish with 23 points while Chris Bosh added 24 points for the Heat, who won the best-of-seven series in five games to claim their first title since 2006.

This was James’ third trip to the NBA Finals, including one with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but his first title in his nine years in the NBA.

Miami used impressive 3-point shooting, hitting 14-of-26 from beyond the arc as a team in front of a sold out crowd of 20,003 at American Airlines Arena.

The Heat also shot 58 percent from the field in the first quarter and never eased up on the Thunder, opening a huge lead with a explosive third quarter, outscoring Oklahoma City 36-22.

Three-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant finished with a game-high 32 points and 11 rebounds and guard Russell Westbrook had 19 points and six assists for the Thunder, who were blown out after losing three contests in a row by close margins heading into game five.

James showed no effects of the painful leg cramps he had to battle on Tuesday, knocking down the go-ahead 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter on the way to a 104-98 victory.

On Thursday, Durant made a dunk with 21 seconds remaining in the first quarter and cut the Heat lead to 31-26.

The Heat used a balanced scoring attack right from the opening tip-off, going up by nine points, 28-19, with 1:50 left in the first quarter when Miller hit a 25-foot jumper from beyond the arc.

Miller came off the bench to go 4-for-4 from 3-point range in limited minutes in the first half. He was 0-for-3 from beyond the arc in the first four games of the series.

James scored seven of Miami’s first 16 points in the first quarter as he helped set the tone early.

Heat all-star guard Dwyane Wade had to take a seat on the bench with 5:35 to play in the second quarter after picking up his third foul.

Miller and Mario Chalmers, who finished with seven assists, picked up the slack without Wade, who was the MVP of the 2006 NBA Finals.

Wade finished with 20 points and eight assists.

The second quarter was highlighted by huge runs by both teams. Miami broke the game open with a 19-4 run to take a 53-36 lead with 4:41 to play in the period.

Oklahoma City answered with a 13-6 run to finish the quarter. Durant banked in a jump shot with 14 seconds left to cut the Miami’s lead to 59-49 at half-time.

Bosh scored 12 of his 24 points in the third quarter as Miami seized command, leading 95-71 heading into the fourth.

-AFP


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