Heat Hold Off Thunder, Up 3-1 in Finals

CineSport¬—The Miami Heat overcame Russell Westbrook's 43 points to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, 104-98. LeBron James scored 26 for Miami, who took a huge 3-1 series lead.

The Miami Heat, now have a commanding lead in the 2012 NBA Finals, up 3-1 on the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Thunder will now be faced with the near impossible task of coming back from a 3-1 deficit. History tends to repeat itself. In thirty previous instances of teams falling down 3-1 in the Finals, all have failed in their attempts to come back and win the coveted ring.

There have been other instances throughout NBA playoff history where teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit in earlier rounds.

Three of these teams have gone on to win the NBA Championship after scratching and clawing their way back into an earlier series.

In 1968 the Celtics won three straight over the 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals to advance to the NBA Finals. 13 years later, Boston again bounced back and ousted Philadelphia en route to another title.

Then in 1995, the Houston Rockets faced the same daunting task and ousted the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Semis, then taking home the NBA crown.

Based on what we’ve seen from earlier rounds, coming back from 3-1 is not impossible, but no team has ever done so in the Finals. Will the Thunder become part of that statistic? Or will they break the trend and re-write history?

Game 5 will be the defining moment for this young, inexperienced Oklahoma City team, as they look to change the momentum and head back home to the loudest building in the league, Chesapeake Energy Arena.

If anyone can accomplish the challenge, it is the Thunder. Certainly adjustments need to be made, but the team has the talent and propensity for comebacks to make it happen.

Regardless of the outcome Thursday night, a new rivalry has been born in the NBA, and we may be seeing a run of Heat-Thunder championship series for years to come.

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LeBron James and the Heat hosted the Thunder in a pivotal Game 4 of the NBA Finals with Miami leading the series, 2-1. Russell Westbrook pumped in a game-high 43 points on 20-of-32 shooting. However, King James refused to be denied despite suffering a leg injury midway through the fourth quarter. LeBron had to leave the game but he returned minutes later and hit a clutch go-ahead three-pointer with just under three minutes remaining. The three-time MVP came up one rebound shy of a triple-double even though he had to watch from the sideline in the closing moments. Mario Chalmers, though, picked up where James left off. Chalmers scored 2 of his 25 on a lay-up with 45 seconds to go to put Miami up five. And he was involved in the game-clinching play as well. The Heat, clinging to a three-point lead, won a jump ball with only five seconds on the shot clock. Russell Westbrook fouled Chalmers with :13.8 left on the clock. Chalmers sunk the free throws and the Heat beat the Thunder 104-98 to take a 3-1 series lead. Miami will attempt to win their 2nd championship in Thursday night's Game 5.