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NBA Finals: Big 3 help Miami pull even with San Antonio

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LeBron James

By Brian Mahoney

The Associated Press

First published Jun 13 2013 11:05PM
Updated Dec 7, 2013 11:33PM

San Antonio • Miami Heat owner Micky Arison had a message as he walked to the winning locker room.

"The death of the Big Three was overrated," he said.

Sure was. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, his three prized players, are just fine.

So are the Heat’s championship hopes.

Riding big performances from their three All-Stars, the Heat tied the NBA Finals with a 109-93 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night in Game 4.

James had 33 points and 11 rebounds after failing to break 20 points in any of the first three games of the series, and Wade scored 32 points, 11 more than his previous high this postseason.

Bosh matched his playoff high with 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, he and Wade supplying the baskets that finally put the Spurs away for good midway through the fourth quarter.

Three players, 85 points. Just the way the Heat envisioned it when they signed James and Bosh to play with Wade in 2010.

"When Bosh, Wade and James score the way they did tonight and shoot it the way they did tonight, a team is going to have a difficult time if you help them like we did," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

"When those guys are playing like that, you better be playing a perfect game."

The Spurs didn’t, committing 19 turnovers that led to 23 points.

Just like they have for the last five months, the Heat bounced back from a loss with a victory — a lopsided one at that. They are 12-0 after defeats since Jan. 10, outscoring opponents by nearly 20 points a game in those previous 11 victories.

"Right now it’s a three-game series," Wade said. "Two great ballclubs, we just want to come out again and play well."

Tim Duncan scored 20 points for the Spurs, who have one more game here on Sunday. They fell to 10-3 at home all-time in the Finals, failing to back up their 113-77 victory in Game 3 that was the third-most lopsided score in the history of the championship series.

James insisted he would be better after shooting 7 of 21 from the field with no free throws in that game, saying he was the star and it was his job to lead his team.

But while James — and millions of critics worldwide — wanted to pile all the pressure on the league’s MVP, it was Wade on Wednesday who said it was the Heat’s three All-Stars who had to lead them together, or there would be no championship.

He was right. And now those championship hopes are right back on track.

"It was on our shoulders," James said. "We had to figure out how to win the game for us and play at the highest level. When all three of us are clicking, we’re very tough to beat."

Tony Parker had 15 points and nine assists for the Spurs, who made a Finals-record 16 3-pointers on Tuesday but got up only 16 attempts in this one. Gary Neal scored 13 points and Danny Green had 10 — solid nights, but nothing like when they combined for 13 3-pointers two nights earlier.

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