Free-throws should not decide any basketball game, especially in the NBA Finals, but they were a huge part of the Miami Heat's 91-85 victory Sunday over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Neither team was getting too many gift shots due to the officiating or anything else along those lines, but the rim just seemed to be bigger for Miami than it was for OKC.
That was unexpected, because Oklahoma City was the best team at shooting freebies during the regular season (80.6 percent). In Game 3, Oklahoma City made just 15 of its 24 attempts (62.5 percent) while Miami was able to close out the game by making 31-35 from the free-throw line. There's obviously a disparity in how many freebies each team shot, but the fact that Miami had quite a bit more success knocking its shots down was key the victory..
The worst part about the Thunder's struggles from the line is that it can't be blamed on any one player. Nobody was particularly awful: It was largely a group effort. That effort will need to change as the series goes on, because the Thunder could have been in a much better position to win if they simply converted a couple more of the gifts.
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.