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Miami Heat Defeat San Antonio Spurs 109-93

Led by the sensational play of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who scored 33 and 32 points respectively, the Miami Heat earned a huge victory on the road in a crucial Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The pressure was focused like a laser on the Miami Heat, who were blown out by nearly thirty points in the previous game. Still, the Heat were one-point favorites on the road last night, illustrating just how respected this team is both among basketball minds and Vegas oddsmakers.

“I never went to college, so I never had to worry about if you lose the first one [in the NCAA tournament], then it’s like I don’t have another opportunity,” James said. “I’m not saying I take the game for granted, I just know there’s a tomorrow. And I can’t worry about what happened yesterday. As bad as I played in Game 3 — I put all the pressure on me to say I can’t afford to play like that and hope for us to win, not at this level — I was able to forget about it.”

LeBron played poorly in Games 2 and 3 of the series, starting out both matches shooting 2 for 12. However, he came out aggressive in Game 4, attacking the basket on drive after drive. His jump shots also started falling, a crucial ingredient of his offense that had been conspicuously missing over the previous two games. James’ teammates chalked up his sensational performance to his understanding of the situation and his experience.

“I think that’s just called maturity,” Heat forward Shane Battier said. “It’s his 10th year in the league. He’s a father of two. You don’t care as much about what people say about you as you get older. There are not too many situations he’s going to be put in where he’s going to take more spitballs than he did a couple years ago. Everything else is pretty tame.”

“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.”

The Miami Heat played a small ball lineup, starting shooter Mike Miller in the place of the bigger Udonis Haslem. The Spurs switched to a small lineup too, but they were eventually overwhelmed by the Heat’s speed and athleticism, and Spurs center Tiago Splitter couldn’t handle the defensive assignment on Wade.

“It enabled them to get up and down,” red-hot San Antonio shooter Danny Green said. “It created a mismatch for us, especially with D-Wade. We had our 4 guarding him a good amount of time. It created more fouls. It allowed them to get after us defensively. They’re aggressive, they rotate faster, they move the ball more. They were able to attack and get open looks.”

“They play very aggressive defense,” Spurs’ point guard Tony Parker said, who shot 7 for 16 playing through an injured hamstring. “They gamble and they take a lot of chances, and tonight it worked.”

The Heat looked to gain confidence throughout the night, and though they have to play one more game on Sunday in San Antonio, they know that they will get a shot to play at home at least one more time.

“No matter how great you are, no matter what your résumé is, to have a game like this,” James said. “it lets you know you’re still one bad — you know the next two words.”

“If we go down 3-1, it’s tough to climb back out of that hole,” Wade said. “So to respond, that’s kind of what you’re going to be judged as a man. I thought my team responded well. I responded well.”

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