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Heat Within One Win of NBA Title By Beating Thunder

LeBron James better get well fast. He’s about to play for a championship.

Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images

Hardly able to move, James returned from a left leg injury to make the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 2:54 remaining and the Miami Heat held off Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder for a 104-98 victory on Tuesday night and a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

With James watching the final moments, Mario Chalmers finished off a stellar 25-point effort that matched Dwyane Wade. James had 26 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds, only missing a triple-double because he was on the bench at the end after getting hurt with a fall to the court.

Game 5 is Thursday and James will have a chance to finish a championship chase that started in Cleveland before he famously — or infamously — left for South Florida. No team has blown a 3-1 lead in the finals.

Westbrook scored 43 points for the Thunder, who blew an early 17-point lead but were never out of the game because of their sensational point guard. Kevin Durant had 28 points but James Harden threw in another clunker, finishing with eight points on 2-of-10 shooting. Westbrook and Durant were the only Thunder players to score in the last 16:46.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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