The Golden State Warriors shouldn't have taken the Miami Heat to overtime: they were down 17 points at one point despite being at home, they were without Stephen Curry and Miami's full complement of superstars had returned to the lineup. But there really is something magic in Oakland when a superpower comes in; behind that consistently awesome crowd, the Warriors do improbable things.
So it was on Tuesday, as the Warriors outscored Miami 24-12 in the fourth quarter to get to overtime, and won it there 111-106. Monta Ellis finished with 22 points on 9-25 shooting with nine turnovers, but he had a critical basket late in regulation for Golden State. LeBron James, who finished with 26 points on 10-19 shooting, 11 rebounds and seven assists, could not say the same.
In 6-1/2 minutes in the fourth quarter, LeBron didn't take a single shot from the floor, and registered just one point after splitting a pair of critical free throws with the game tied in the final minute and change. LeBron was just 1-3 in overtime, his potentially game-tying three in the closing seconds off badly, the play looking like something off of the back of a napkin that had been put through the washer. We've been spoiled early this season by Erik Spoelstra's club finishing strong and even trying creative plays in crunch time. That didn't happen on Tuesday. On the final play, LeBron feigned driving on David Lee, pulled up and took a fading-left three-pointer from the elbow, a low-probability shot on a low-efficiency play.
It almost wasn't so rosy for the Warriors, as Ellis failed to get a shot off before the game buzzer in regulation. After a stop on a Dwyane Wade jumper, Golden State had 14 seconds with the game tied to put it away. Ellis milked the clock a little, and then discovered he had no chance of driving by Shane Battier with LeBron and Wade shadowing him. He failed to make a pass before the buzzer sounded, sending the game into overtime.