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The Heat Persevere and Triumph Over the Thunder in Game 3

By Bobby Toulaine — In the most stayed, classic NBA Championship-esque game of the NBA Finals series so far, the Heat and Thunder battled to a near draw — until the final minutes — when a combination of inexplicable unforced errors on the part of the Thunder, combined with uncharacteristic missed free throws — left Miami the last team standing.  And for the first time in the final, the Thunder looked like they woke up and realized they were playing in the finals for the very first time.

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Give credit to Miami, though, they hunkered down and played grind-it-out, almost old-school basketball  — responding basket for basket, steal-for-steal, forced turn-0ver for forced-turnover, until the final minutes when they kept making free-throws and the accumulation of the nine or ten the Thunder uncharacteristically missed provided the margin for victory. In the final minutes, too, though, the Thunder had lapses of awareness, misread each other on give-and-goes and in-bounds passes, made inexplicable, unforced bad passes in contested in the open court –  and just generally seemed a step slow and out-of sync and out of sorts.  They were kind of baffling to themselves, you could tell.

It was like “one of those nights”.  One would hope that now that they got their “on the road jitters” out, and realize the series probably hangs in the balance in Game 4, they can come out and play with the “nothing to lose” reckless abandon that has characterized this young team almost all season.  If not, then this will have been a learning experience and a step up toward elite status this season that they can hopefully build on in the coming years.  And Le Bron James will finally have gotten his — and got that monkey off his back.  Because if he can’t win with this collection of talent — there are no teams out there with four other Le Bron Jameses on them that he can join up with — and he can’t win all by himself.

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Besides  — if you can’t play on a team with Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Shane Battier for team-mates and win a championship — there probably wasn’t one in the cards for you this go-round.   But there is always your next life.