June 21, 2018
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James scores 33 as Heat even series with Spurs

By The Sports Xchange, Special to the BDN

SAN ANTONIO — LeBron James scored 33 points and Dwyane Wade added 32 to help the Miami Heat defeat the San Antonio Spurs 109-93 Thursday night in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, evening the series at two wins apiece.

Wade also had six rebounds, six steals and four assists for the Heat, who regained home-court advantage in the series after losing it in Game 1. James had 11 rebounds and four assists.

Chris Bosh added 20 points for the Heat, who shot 52.9 percent from the field and bounced back from getting hammered 113-77 Tuesday. James shot 7-for-21 in Game 3, but he went 15-for-25 from the floor Thursday.

Tim Duncan led San Antonio with 20 points. Tony Parker, who suffered a right hamstring strain in the third quarter of Game 3, was considered questionable for Game 4, but he started and contributed 15 points and nine assists.

Danny Green, who scored 27 points in Game 3 and was the Spurs’ leading overall scorer over the first three games, managed just 10 points Thursday. Gary Neal, who scored 24 points for San Antonio in Game 3, finished with 13 points.

Miami went on an 8-0 run midway through the third quarter, and a dunk by James gave the Heat a 67-61 lead.

Miami extended its lead to eight on a 3-pointer by Mario Chalmers, who was held scoreless in Game 3.

San Antonio appeared to gain momentum when Neal hit a 3-pointer while falling to the ground to trim Miami’s lead to 76-73. Wade responded with a three-point play on the other end, and a putback by James late in the period gave the Heat an 81-76 lead heading into the fourth quarter. James had nine points and four rebounds in the third.

Allen’s 3-pointer a minute into the fourth quarter bumped Miami’s lead back up to eight. Wade’s steal and dunk made it 90-81 with just over eight minutes to go, and Bosh scored in close to push the advantage to double digits.

The Heat changed their starting lineup, inserting Mike Miller in place of Udonis Haslem, with coach Erik Spoelstra hoping to open up the floor and generate offense.

Miami’s change worked to San Antonio’s advantage early. The Spurs, who set an NBA Finals record with 16 3-pointers in Game 3, hit three in the first quarter and had a 15-5 lead at the seven-minute mark.

The Heat turned it around, forcing 10 turnovers which led to 13 first-half points, and Miami led by 10 points in the second quarter.

Parker then sparked an 18-8 Spurs run that closed out the half with the score tied at 49.

Parker, who had 15 first-half points, contributed four points and four assists in a late second-quarter spurt.

James, who was held under 20 points in each of the first three games, had 15 first-half points, hitting seven of 11 shots from the floor. Wade had 14 points at the break.

NOTES: The Heat have not sustained back-to-back losses since Jan. 8 and Jan. 10, winning 11 consecutive games following a loss by an average margin of 19 points. … Eleven-year-old singer Sebastien De La Cruz, known as “El Charro de Oro” (the golden mariachi), sang the national anthem before Game 3. After his performance, there was an eruption of racist comments on social media sites targeted toward him. In his pregame press conference, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich addressed the topic, saying, “I’m not surprised. (Racism) still plagues us, obviously. (De Le Cruz) is a class act. Way more mature than most his age.” De Le Cruz was invited back to sing the anthem for Game 4.

NBA NOTEBOOK: Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose is looking like himself again, his coach says. Rose sat out the entire 2012-13 regular season and playoffs while rehabbing from a torn ACL in his left knee suffered during the 2012 playoffs. He endured criticism for not returning despite being cleared by doctors to play, but coach Tom Thibodeau sees the results of waiting. “Watching the way he’s moving now, there’s a confidence,” Thibodeau told ESPNChicago.com. “(Reporters) may not have been able to see the total work he was putting in. But he was putting in an enormous amount of work each and every day. He just never got to the explosiveness he was comfortable with. I think he’s there now. He feels great, and that’s the most important thing.” Thibodeau put Rose through a workout a week ago and called his progress “great.” He said Rose is running, lifting weights, shooting and playing basketball. The coach told ESPNChicago.com that Rose will begin working out next week with his trainer in Los Angeles. “It was a smart decision to wait,” Thibodeau said in the interview. “If you’re not quite sure, and you’re going to err, err on the side of caution. That’s what he did. And now he feels great.”Contrary to reports during the latter part of the season, Rose was not at full speed all the time during workouts with the team, Thibodeau said. “He was practicing and he was good sometimes, but he also wasn’t able to make the kinds of plays he likes to make,” Thibodeau said of the former NBA Most Valuable Player. “No one is more explosive and can change direction like him. He had to be capable of doing that. That’s what makes him so unique, how quick and explosive he is.”


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