With 32 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the Miami Heat carried the ball up the floor with a three-point lead. The Oklahoma City Thunder had a choice to make, whether to foul or play defense. They ended up taking the middle road, which is always the wrong decision, as James Harden fouled LeBron James with 10 seconds remaining on the shot clock. He made one of two free throws, effectively ending the game.
To add insult to injury, Thabo Sefalosha threw away the inbound pass on the Thunder's next possession. Oklahoma City was within two possessions for the entire fourth quarter and within one possession from 1:55 remaining in Game 3 until Harden's foul, but they failed to capitalize on their opportunity to grab an important road win as the Heat held on for a 91-85 win.
Kevin Durant's 11-19 shooting performance looks solid on the box score, but his fouls and missed shots down the stretch will be remembered more than his periods of excellent play. The Thunder had a nine-point lead in the third quarter, but things turned around when Durant picked up his fourth foul and had to sit down for nearly six minutes. That was followed by two more fouls on jump shooters by the Thunder, gifting the struggling Heat a way back into the game.
James had periods of the game where he went cold, but he came up big in the fourth quarter. He finished the game with 29 points on 11-23 shooting to go along with 14 rebounds. James only finished with three assists, but he had a number of key passes that led to his teammates getting fouled and getting to the free throw line, the most important being one to Chris Bosh with 1:19 remaining, after which Bosh made both free throws to extend Miami's lead to three points.
Dwyane Wade was very poor, though his 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists line covers it up. He was 8-22 from the floor and turned the ball over five times, the most out of anyone on the Heat. In an incredible 30-second sequence in the fourth quarter, Wade almost threw the game away from his team, turning a seven-point lead into a one-point lead almost by himself. In that 30-second span, he fouled Kendrick Perkins, turned the ball over for a Sefolosha dunk, then missed a bad jump shot which led to a Russell Westbrook pull-up jumper in transition.
It was almost the second game in the finals in which the Heat lost because of Wade's struggles, but thanks to some big plays by James and some bad mental errors on the part of the Thunder, Miami have a 2-1 series lead heading into Game 4.
For more on the game, stick with our 2012 NBA Finals, Game 3 StoryStream. For more on the Heat, head over to Peninsula is Mightier and SB Nation Tampa Bay. For more on the Thunder, check out Welcome To Loud City and SB Nation Kansas City.