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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


House’s late basket pushes Heat past Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY — Among the most common insults hurled at Miami Heat forward LeBron James since he became vilified was critics calling him selfish.

That was the last thing on the mind of his teammates Sunday afternoon. James showed he could be selfless when he passed up an open look and found guard Eddie House for a late 3-pointer that was key in the Heat’s 108-103 victory against Oklahoma City. The play was big enough to overshadow the return of guard Dwyane Wade and forward Chris Bosh to the starting lineup.

“”We’ve had significant progress in the last two games executing our offense with players under duress to find the best available shot,”” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “”I found it most fitting that we ended up with a trust play for Eddie House.””

Wade, who missed Friday’s game against the Detroit Pistons because of a bruised wrist, returned to lead the Heat with 32 points. After missing four games with a sprained left ankle, Bosh had 20 points and seven rebounds.

But it was James and House connecting when it counted that sent the Heat to their second consecutive victory, arguably the most impressive of the season. The Thunder, a rising team in the Western Conference, held momentum after quickly erasing an eight-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter.

Their surge was completed when forward Kevin Durant, who led all scorers with 33 points, hit a jumper from the top of the key to give Oklahoma City a 103-102 lead with 34.3 seconds remaining. The Heat, who entered 3-8 in games decided by five points or less, were staring at another close loss.

“”We kind of could tell from the beginning of the game, it was going to be one of those games that come down to the end,”” Wade said. “”Coach said at halftime it was going to come down to the end, who was going to make the plays. And I thought we made the plays to win the ballgame and that’s all that matters.””

Many cited trust in teammates as the main factor for the late-game struggles. For one day, the Heat eliminated those thoughts. It started with what James did on the next possession. After Wade missed a jumper just inside the 3-point arc, forward Mike Miller grabbed the rebound.

Miller quickly passed to James, who had an open look. He instead hesitated, taking his time and found House on the wing. The shot put the Heat ahead for good with 22.2 seconds left, silencing the crowd of 18,203 at Oklahoma City Arena.

“”He could’ve took the shot, but at the same time that shows trust in his teammates,”” House said. “”I got a good look at it.”” It was House’s only basket of the game. He scored the last of his five points after he was fouled with the Heat holding a three-point lead. He hit two free throws to put the game away.

“”Besides some turnovers, we executed down the stretch and it is that trust that we had in each other that helped us win this game,”” James said. “”It was good to finally just have our full group.””

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