Miami Steals Game 4 Despite 43 From Westbrook; LeBron Is Hurt

06.20.12 5 years ago
LeBron James

LeBron James (photo. David Alvarez)

You could have crammed an entire postseason’s worth of story lines into last night’s Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Which would be a big help to us, because Miami’s 104-98 win over OKC was so incredible and intense that we almost forgot all about the other stories from these playoffs that led up to it … As usual, it starts with LeBron. His 26-point, 12-assist, 9-rebound performance featured some passes borrowed from Magic and some buckets borrowed from Kobe, but then it really got interesting after LeBron went down late in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be leg cramps (or a busted hip, or a thigh bruise, depending on who you ask). LeBron got back up and limped through a crucial sequence in which he hit a humongous three-pointer during a 7-0 Heat run, but then left with a minute to go and never returned. So does this go down as The Cramp Game, one of LeBron’s career highlight-film classics? Or does it just give his haters another reason to bash him for not staying on the floor during perhaps the most important minute of Miami’s season? You can book it that we’ll see a few Willis Reed/Michael Jordan clips — as well as some LaDainian Tomlinson/Jay Cutler clips — between now and Game 5 … Then there was Russell Westbrook. Facing the familiar criticism after Game 3 that he shoots too much and doesn’t pass enough to Kendrick Perkins or whoever he’s supposed to be passing to, Westbrook spent Game 4 in full kiss-my-ass mode. He dropped 43 points (20-32 FG) to go with seven boards and five assists, and he was the main reason the Thunder were even able to keep it close during the fourth quarter after blowing a 17-point lead earlier in the game … Remember how Dwyane Wade ate up the Mavs in ’06 by just attacking and attacking? That was Westbrook. With Wade guarding him most of the time, Westbrook drove the lane and finished from all kinds of tough angles and while absorbing contact, scoring 13 straight in the fourth quarter while answering almost every potential Miami dagger by himself. But just like LeBron, Russ still left himself vulnerable for the critics thanks to one backbreaking turnover in the end and one ill-advised foul that put Mario Chalmers on the line to effectively ice the game … Oh yeah, Chalmers. He played the game of his life, scoring 19 of his 25 points in the second half and hitting clutch shot after clutch shot in the fourth quarter. OKC coach Scott Brooks decided to have Kevin Durant guard Chalmers down the stretch since KD was in foul trouble, and Chalmers said afterward that he saw it as a sign of disrespect. Chalmers was also playing a game-within-a-game against his backup PG Norris Cole, who was key during Miami’s 16-0 run to start the second quarter. Those two are in a constant battle that’s like the NBA version of two NFL strong safeties vying for the same job. Enteraining and vicious as hell, but too few people are paying attention because it isn’t a QB controversy … A couple of our favorite Cole tweets from last night: “Norris Cole looks like a lost member of Three Times Dope” (@MrMichaelLee) and “Norris out here looking like Waldo, tell Eddie Winslow to post up + Steve Urkel to run to the corner” (@yomike) … Hit the jump to read a radical suggestion for James Harden.

Around The Web

The Fascinating Rise Of Third Man Records As The Most Influential Vinyl Label In America

03.21.17 4 days ago 2 Comments

A Little Booze And A Lot Of Big Ideas Are Keeping Movie Theaters Relevant

03.17.17 1 week ago 7 Comments

The Unheralded True Story Of The NBA’s First Black Player

03.14.17 2 weeks ago

How TV And Evolving Media Technology Changed The American Presidency

03.07.17 3 weeks ago 2 Comments

How The Spice Girls’ Legacy Of ‘Girl Power’ Paved The Way For Women To Dominate Pop

02.27.17 4 weeks ago 4 Comments

How Keeping Austin Weird Turned Into A Widespread Phenomenon

02.15.17 1 month ago 12 Comments

How Kevin Gates Went From Underground To Platinum In A Year And Changed The Game In The Process

02.02.17 2 months ago 6 Comments

Look For The Star: How Starter Jackets Became The Iconic Clothing Of The Early ’90s

01.31.17 2 months ago 10 Comments

‘Dream, Try, Do Good’: The Oral History Of ‘Boy Meets World’

01.31.17 2 months ago 6 Comments

How Frank Barsalona Created The Modern Rock Concert And Got Himself Into The Hall Of Fame

01.30.17 2 months ago

The Story Behind Gus Fring’s Stunningly Explosive Moment On ‘Breaking Bad’

and 01.30.17 2 months ago 5 Comments

How Toronto’s Boosie Fade Transformed From A Rap DJ Night Into A Digital Movement

01.12.17 2 months ago

Infiltrating The Bills Mafia To Find Out Why Fans Keep Supporting The NFL’s Most Hopeless Team

01.01.17 3 months ago 8 Comments

From Ray Charles To Jimi Hendrix: How Seattle Helped Create R&B And Rock And Roll

01.01.17 3 months ago 6 Comments

‘Stop Crying And Fight Your Father’: ‘Seinfeld’ Writers Tell How Festivus Came To Be

and 12.23.16 3 months ago 12 Comments

The Lasting Impact Of Adidas Tearaway Pants On Hip-Hop And A Hoops Generation

12.08.16 4 months ago 2 Comments

Understanding The History And The Motivations Behind The Standing Rock Protests

12.02.16 4 months ago 6 Comments

How Do We Combat The Intensifying War On Science?

and 11.30.16 4 months ago 30 Comments