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Big Three help Heat even Finals with Spurs San Antonio commits 18 turnovers in losing effort

SAN ANTONIO, June 14, (Agencies): With their backs against the wall and hopes of repeating as champions fading, the Miami Heat’s Big Three used a dominating performance to beat the San Antonio Spurs 109-93 on Thursday and even the NBA Finals at 2-2. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh had their best game of the NBA Finals, combining for 85 points as the Heat reclaimed home-court advantage in the best-of-seven series. “I mean, it was on our shoulders, obviously,” James, who had a game-high 33 points, told reporters. “When all three of us are clicking at the same time, we’re a very tough team to beat.” Wade turned in his biggest offensive performance of the playoffs, scoring 32 points, while Bosh equalled his postseason high by chipping in with 20 points and 13 rebounds.

“All of them provided us great energy defensively. And that got us off to a decent start. And quite obviously they are big components to what we do offensively,” said Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra. “We run almost every trigger through them. This happened to be a game where they were all able to be aggressive. The next game might present a different challenge. But we needed every bit of it tonight.” Tim Duncan scored a team-high 20 points while Tony Parker shrugged off a mild hamstring strain suffered in the previous game to score 15 points on 7-of-16 shooting for the Spurs, but the home side were left chasing shadows for most of the contest. Game Five is in San Antonio on Sunday before the teams return to Miami for Game Six and a series decider if necessary.

Miami controlled the early exchanges and appeared set to take a comfortable lead into halftime but San Antonio’s Boris Diaw came off the bench to spark an 11-2 run late in the second quarter to tie the game at 49-49 by the interval. Leading by 11 points with six minutes to play, the defending champions started to pull away, aided by nine points down the stretch from James, who had shouldered much of the blame for the Heat’s 36-point loss in the previous contest. James had repeatedly vowed he would be back to his best for Game Four and despite a relatively quiet start, he managed to carry his team when it mattered most. San Antonio’s trio of Gary Neal, Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 65 points in the Game Three victory, could only contribute 35 points between them on Thursday.

The Spurs were largely undone by turnovers, giving the ball up 18 times and failing to contain James, Wade and Bosh the way they did in Game Three when the All Star trio were limited to 43 points in Miami’s 113-77 loss. “When Bosh, Wade and James score the way they did tonight and shoot it the way they did tonight, teams are going to have a difficult time,” said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. “When those guys play like that, you better be playing a more perfect game. You can’t turn it over that many times. It’s a bad combo.” An 11-year-old Latino boy whose singing of the national anthem at the NBA Finals set off a barrage of racist tweets earned a roaring ovation in an encore performance Thursday.

Sebastien De La Cruz, a mariachi singer, was congratulated by San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra at midcourt afterward. His second act followed an outpouring of support following disparaging tweets about Latinos during his nationally televised performance before Game 3 this week. Popovich bemoaned “idiots” who posted bigoted comments. He called De La Cruz “a class act.” Other celebrities and politicians are also rallying behind De La Cruz. They include San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and actress Eva Longoria, formerly married to Spurs star Parker. Castro introduced the boy Thursday night.

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