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NBA Finals Game 4 Recap: MIA leads 3-1

Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder against Miami Heat 6/19/2012
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Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade goes to the basket past Oklahoma City Thunder's Serge Ibaka, rear right, and Russell Westbrook, during the third quarter of Game 4 of the NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The Heat defeated the Thunder 104-98. (AP Photo/El Nuevo Herald, David Santiago)

It was another frustrating night for the Oklahoma City Thunder, as they were defeated by the Heat for the third consecutive time Tuesday night. Russell Westbrook put together an absolutely incredible performance, scoring a massive 43 points, but it still wasn’t enough.

LeBron James, who had 26 points in the game, not to mention 12 assists – one less than the entire Thunder team – lost his footing midway through the fourth quarter and went down. He got up limping with cramps in his left leg, made a jumper to put the Heat up 92-90, and was then carried to the sideline during a Miami timeout.

When he came back into the game, there were only about four minutes left and the Heat were down by two. Chris Bosh tied it at 94 with a layup, and 52 seconds later, James stepped up to the three-point line and nailed a 24-foot jumper that would prove fatal for Oklahoma City.

The Heat never looked back.

Dwyane Wade, who had to shake off an injury of his own after landing hard on his back following a blocked shot by Serge Ibaka, finished with 25 points on the night, equaling Mario Chalmers, who had a huge game for the Heat and scored Miami’s last five points.

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Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35), power forward Nick Collison (4), and Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) go after a rebound during the first half at Game 4. (AP Photo/ Larry W. Smith, Pool)

Kevin Durant put up 28 points, making all nine of his free throws and 9 of his 19 shots, but even he couldn’t compare to Westbrook, who sank 20 of his 32 shots.

Unfortunately for the Thunder, only Westbrook and Durant managed to make it into double-digits in points – Harden had an atrocious night, making only 2 of his 10 shots and scoring a mere eight points in the process.

Derek Fisher wasn’t much better – he had zero points and took only one shot, but points are expected out of Harden, not so much Fisher. Harden had five fouls and just could not make a shot to save his life. He had an open three at one point, missed it, got the rebound, and then missed the layup.

Early in the fourth quarter, with OKC down by one, Dwyane Wade made a bad pass that Harden intercepted, which he then proceed to take to the hoop. Unfortunately for Harden, he missed the layup and there was no foul on the play. The Heat would then score five more unanswered points, putting themselves up by six.

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Miami Heat's LeBron James is carried from the court by teammate Juwan Howard, left, and trainer Jay Sabol, during the fourth quarter. (AP Photo/El Nuevo Herald, David Santiago)

Had it not been for Russell Westbrook, the Thunder wouldn’t have had much of a chance. Westbrook scored 13 points in a row for the Thunder in a four-minute stretch at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and aside from Durant, was the only Thunder player who was taking shots and hitting them consistently. They did, however, finally get their free throw shooting down, making 15 of 16 from the line.

Oklahoma City will need a more balanced effort Thursday night if they want to overcome the Heat and stave off elimination. Returning to Chesapeake Energy Arena for Game 5 should give them the best possible chance of success.

Knowing that no NBA Finals team has ever come back from a 3-1 series deficit to win the championship, the Thunder hope to rewrite history one game at a time, and it all starts on Thursday in Miami.

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