SAN ANTONIO -- For the longest time this postseason, the Miami Heats blueprint of a Big 3 seemed like an outdated set of specs incapable of building momentum let alone a championship.
On Thursday in Texas, Miamis Pillars Three reminded the NBA theyre still sturdy enough to prop up a team on the brink and shift an NBA Finals in the most crucial of times. Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James combined to score 85 points on Thursday in the Heats 109-93 victory against the Spurs at San Antonios AT&T Center to tie the NBA Finals at 2-2. Game 5 is on Sunday before the series shifts back to Miami for the grand finale.
It was a little bit of everything they provided for us, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Wade, Bosh and James. We needed every bit of it tonight.
Miamis Big 3 was averaging a combined 43 points in The Finals before Game 4s offensive explosion.
And now its a three-game series for the NBA championship. It seems almost preordained that the series is going seven games. The teams have swapped victories ever since Game 1 and the Heat hasnt won back-to-back games since Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals and Game 1 of the conference finals. After being blown out by 36 points in Game 3, the Heat responded with a lopsided victory of its own in Game 4.
Wade put his signature on the series with exactly 8:13 left in the game when he intercepted a pass and raced down the court for a jaw-dropping breakaway dunk. Wade sidestepped Spurs defender Gary Neal with one of his Euro-steps and soared through the air to give Miami a 90-81 lead.
After averaging 14.3 points in the Finals, Wade delivered a stunning performance of 32 points, going 14 of 25 from the field and 4 of 4 from the free-throw line. Inexplicably, the Spurs started the game with center Tiago Splitter guarding the Heats future Hall of Fame shooting guard. The mismatch kick started Wade early and he never let up the pressure.
No second-guessing, Wade said of his approach. Just playing. Whatever they gave us, we just took it. And we took it with confidence. Wasnt thinking about, I need to pass, I need to get off the ball. It was just, Im open, Im shooting it. Just being aggressive.
Wades driving baseline layup put the Heat ahead 100-85 with 5:17 left in the game. He also had six steals, six rebounds, four assists and a block.
His floor game was the there from the beginning, his activity around the rim when he was there, Spoelstra said. He was much more aggressive tonight.
Wades 32 points was more than his totals from the previous two games combined and it was the first time he has scored more than 30 points in a game since the Heats 27-game winning streak. It was also the most points he has scored in a playoff game since he had 41 in Game 6 against the Pacers in the 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals.
Every time hes down, he responds. The way he played was amazing, James said. He went back to his bag tonight and pulled out Flash.
Said Spurs guard Tony Parker: Thats his best game of the playoffs by far.
Wade, who has been playing through injury the throughout postseason, remained loose in Game 4 by wrapping hot pads around his right knee. Thursday was the first time he has tried that method and he said it had a positive effect.