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James gets help as Miami square NBA series
By Brian Mahoney
16:41 AEST Fri Jun 15 2012

LeBron James asked for help, and his Miami teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh provided it as the Heat beat Oklahoma City Thunder 100-96 on Thursday, squaring the NBA finals series at 1-1.

James scored 32 points, Wade rebounded from a poor opener with 24 and the Heat built a huge early lead before holding off a furious fourth-quarter rally thanks to their three All-Stars.

Bosh had 16 points and 15 rebounds in his return to the starting lineup for the Heat, who snapped a four-game finals losing streak dating back to last season.

"It's been so long since we've had them all together," Heat forward Shane Battier said.

"They played like the All-Stars that they are and that's the effort that we need."

Now they go home to host game three on Sunday and the next two after that, knowing they don't have to hear the noisy Thunder fans again - not to mention all their critics - if they win all three.

"We've been down. We've withstood rallies. The good thing about it, when they scored, we didn't get our head down. We just got back on offence and started to execute," James said.

"It's a great team that we're going against. So we're going to need every effort, every play and it's going to take all the way down to zeroes on that clock to get a win."

Kevin Durant scored 32 points for the Thunder, but missed a shot that would have tied a game in which Oklahoma City trailed throughout.

Russell Westbrook finished with 27 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, but shot 10 of 25 from the field.

James Harden tried to keep the Thunder in it early and finished with 21 points but, this time, the hosts couldn't come back from a double-digit deficit after spotting Miami a 17-point advantage during their worst first half of the season.

"That was the game. We can't start off down 18-2," Durant said.

"We can't go down that much, especially at home. We've got to correct it."

It was the first home loss in 10 post-season games for the Thunder, who had overcome a 13-point deficit in game one.

James had 30 points in the opener but, afterwards, said he needed more help from his friends, especially Wade.

In game one, Wade was 7 of 19.

He wasn't sharp in the last round amid speculation of some physical problem.

Wade bounced back in a big way, not quite at the level he was as the 2006 finals' MVP, but certainly good enough with the help around him now for the Heat to win another one.

He spun into the lane and found Bosh for a dunk that seemed to have the Heat safe at 98-91 inside the final minute, but a three-pointer by Durant cut it to 98-96 with 37 seconds left.

After James missed a three-pointer, the Thunder were able to get the ball into Durant, who appeared to be knocked off balance by James as he missed the baseline shot attempt.

Durant said he would have to watch the tape to see if he was fouled.

James then sank the insurance free throws - finishing a 12-for-12 night at the line - as fans booed loudly over the no-call.


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