Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Miami Heat power forward Chris Bosh says he and his Heat teammates know how the Oklahoma City Thunder feel entering Game 3 at Miami. 'Any time you drop a game, especially now, it's not a good feeling,' Bosh says, referring to Miami's 100-96 win in Game 2 that evened the series.
Miami Heat power forward Chris Bosh says he and his Heat teammates know how the Oklahoma City Thunder feel entering Game 3 at Miami. 'Any time you drop a game, especially now, it's not a good feeling,' Bosh says, referring to Miami's 100-96 win in Game 2 that evened the series.

With Game 3 ahead Miami Heat have that familiar feeling again

Another game, another crisis to avert. It seems the Miami Heat find themselves constantly trying to avert disaster. This post-season they seem to be able to quite naturally.

MIAMI // This is getting to be a trend for the Miami Heat.

A nerve-racking one for them, sure, but a trend nonetheless.

Go on the road, fall behind in a series, put the championship-or-bust season on the brink of collapse - and find a way to overcome it all.

The Heat landed at home on Friday, possibly disembarking from their plane for the last time this season. Miami resume play in the NBA finals at home against Oklahoma City on Sunday night, the start of a run of three home games where the Heat - if they do what is incredibly difficult in a title series and sweep the middle portion of the 2-3-2 format - can wrap up the franchise's second crown.

"Very excited," said Mario Chalmers, the Heat guard. "We get to play in front of our home crowd for the first time in the finals and we will be ready."

A Game 2 win at Oklahoma City swung the home-court edge Miami's way. And when the Heat have taken that edge away from their opponent on both previous occasions in these play-offs, they have been successful in the series.

"Any time you drop a game, especially now, it's not a good feeling, and it stays with you all the way up until you get another chance to redeem yourself," said Chris Bosh, the Heat forward. "We're pretty familiar with that feeling."

By now, they are also familiar with overcoming that feeling.

Miami lost Game 3 at Indiana in the second round of the Eastern Conference play-offs, falling behind 2-1 in a series where Bosh was sidelined with a strained lower abdominal muscle and the 2006 finals hero, Dwyane Wade, was labouring with worse-than-usual knee pain. So in Game 4, LeBron James finished with 40 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists in a virtuoso performance. Miami swept the rest of that series.

Miami fell in Game 5 at home against Boston in the East finals, going down 3-2 and facing an elimination game on the Celtics' home floor, a place where the Heat had won only once in their most recent 16 visits. James came up huge again, filling the statistics sheet with 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists, and the Heat won easily to send the series back to Miami and a Game 7 victory.

Then in Game 1 of the finals, Miami saw a 13-point lead vanish in an 11-point loss. But in Game 2 on Thursday night, even after the Thunder whittled a 17-point Heat lead to two, Miami escaped with a 100-96 win after James finished with 32 points, Wade added 24, Bosh scored 16 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, and Shane Battier put up 17 points for the second successive contest.

Season saved, at least for now.

"We were a confident team even before that, and that's why I think it's important to always compartmentalise and not get too carried away with the result," said Erik Spoelstra, the Heat coach. "You have to play to your identity and find a way.

"We didn't think we played well in Game 1, and we still had an opportunity to win. This is going to be a very competitive series.

"We're confident going home, but that doesn't guarantee anything, and I think our guys have enough perspective to know that we're going to have to earn this."

So now the scene shifts to Miami, where the Heat lost their last two finals games last year - Game 2 against Dallas, where they collapsed in the final seven minutes and blew a 15-point lead, and then Game 6 where the Mavericks closed out their championship.

The Heat are 36-7 in their building this season, the second-best home mark in the league behind San Antonio, who finished 34-6 at home.

The last of those six Spurs home defeats was against Oklahoma City in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals, as if Miami needed another reminder how capable - and how driven - the Thunder will be on their final road trip of the season.

"They're going to come back strong," James said. "They're going to come back strong in our house, but we're glad we split. And off to our arena, where we're very good and our fans are looking forward to this."

The Heat are having no talk of the championship quite yet.

"Basically, it's 0-0 now, so I don't know about momentum," said Udonis Haslem, the Heat forward.

"You know they are going to watch the film and make adjustments. We're going to watch film and a couple of things we're going to have to change up a little bit.

"The series is just starting."


twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Al Ahli's Ismail Al Hammadi, left, battles for the ball during the Arabian Gulf Cup final between against Al Jazira at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on April 19, 2014. Al Hammadi hit the game-winner in the 81st minute for Ahli. Al Ittihad

Al Ahli maintain course for domestic treble with victory over Al Jazira in Arabian Gulf Cup

Al Ahli maintained their hopes of a domestic treble with a superb comeback victory against Al Jazira in the Arabian Gulf Cup final on Saturday night.

 Alex Kacaniklic, left, of Fulham tackles Christian Eriksen of Tottenham Hotspur during their Premier League match at White Hart Lane on April 19, 2014, in London, England. Clive Rose / Getty Images

Tottenham keep pace in chase for European places with victory over Fulham

Swansea appear to be safe after rallying past Newcastle while Crystal Palace continue their winning streak

 On a track described as a ‘tyre-killer’ in Shanghai, Lewis Hamilton went untested on his way to a 34th pole – the most by a British driver – yesterday. Carlos Barria / Reuters

Hamilton has sympathy for fans hung out to dry with wet tyre rules

The Briton takes his career's 34th pole - the most by a British driver - but sympathises it was not ideal for the ticket-paying public.

 Yuzvendra Chahal, centre, and the Royal Challengers Bangalore teammates celebrate after the bowlers set up an easy win over Mumbai Indians. Pawan Singh / The National

Bowlers set up Bangalore as Patel stand tall over Mumbai

Mumbai bowlers gave early hope but Parthiv Patel and AB de Villiers' unbeaten stand of 99 ensures second defeat for the men in blue in Dubai.

 Roelof Kotzee is leading UAE to unchartered territory. Sarah Dea / The National

UAE step into the unknown ahead of Asian Five Nations

Performance manager Roelof Kotze will give 12 players their first experience of international rugby, but there is also minimal information on Singapore ahead of first Test in Dubai on Wednesday, reports Paul Radley.

 Novak Djokovic of Serbia winces in pain during his semi-final match against Roger Federer of Switzerland at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 19, 2014. Federer prevailed to set up an all-Swiss final with Stanislas Wawrinka. SEBASTIEN NOGIER / EPA

Ailing Djokovic will ‘just rest now’ while Nadal not pressing the panic button

Djokovic says only rest will help is injured right wrist after he falls to Roger Federer on Saturday, and Nadal suffers just his third career defeat in Monte Carlo when he slumped to a shock 7-6, 6-4 quarter-final loss to compatriot Ferrer on Friday.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National