Miami Heat bounce back to tie series 2-2
LeBron James had a game-high 33 points and 11 rebounds and Dwyane Wade scored 32 as the Miami Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs 109-93 in game four of the NBA finals.
Wade had his first 30-point game of the playoffs and Chris Bosh finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds Thursday for the Heat, who levelled the best-of-seven championship series at 2-2.
The defending NBA champions Miami made sure the league showdown would return to Florida for at least a game six on Tuesday. Pivotal game five is on Sunday in San Antonio.
Miami looked nothing like the team that was humiliated 113-77 in game three as once again they displayed their ability to make sensational recoveries from defeats.
The Heat are now a perfect 6-0 following a defeat in the post-season and all six wins have come by double digits. Miami hasn't lost back-to-back games since January 8 and 10.
"Our guys understand the challenge," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "We are not expecting for it to be easy at this level."
Tony Parker had 15 points and 11 assists and Tim Duncan finished with 20 points for the Spurs, who were looking to take a stranglehold on the series after their dominating victory on Tuesday.
"It is one game," Duncan said. "We will make adjustments and see what happens next game."
Parker was playing with a sore hamstring he injured in the previous game.
"It was kind of weak. I didn't know what to expect, so the first three or four minutes, I was testing it," said Parker, who was scoreless in the second half. "The first half, it felt OK. The second half, I think I got fatigued a little bit.
Spoelstra decided to shake up his lineup Thursday by starting forward Mike Miller. James also made good on his guarantee to play better after a dismal performance in the game three loss.
"I was just going as hard as I could until the tank was empty," James said.
Miami outscored the Spurs 28-17 in the fourth quarter after the teams were tied 49-49 at the half.
The Heat's Big Three -- James, Wade and Bosh -- combined for 85 points which was just eight less than the entire San Antonio team.
"When Bosh, Wade and James score like that ... it is hard to beat them," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
"All of them provided us with great energy defensively and that got us off to a good start," Spoelstra said of his star trio. "We understood this was a survival game."
James drained a 25-foot three pointer with 23 seconds left in regulation for the last of his 33 points to help seal the win in front of a crowd of 18,581 at the AT&T Center.
James said going into Thursday's game that he took "full responsibility" for the Heat's ugly loss in game three and vowed to do better.
"His aggressiveness set the tone," said Spoelstra.
He got his first field goal halfway through the first quarter on a driving layup to cut the Spurs' lead to six points, 15-9.
San Antonio did come out the stronger of the two teams Thursday as France's Parker scored six points and the Spurs hit three from beyond the arc to jump out to a 15-5 lead in the first five minutes.
But Miami shot 60 percent from the field in the first quarter, and Wade made a running eight foot jump shot to give the Heat a 29-26 lead heading into the second quarter.
The Spurs closed the second period on an 11-2 surge which included seven points from Parker.
Boris Diaw's driving layup allowed the Spurs to tie the score, 49-49, going into halftime.