Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The big knock against NBA MVP LeBron James has been his inability to close out must-win games for the Heat. Sunday night, James once again proved his critics wrong as he took over when the Heat needed him most.
In the 2011 NBA Finals, LeBron scored just 18 points through six fourth quarters. Through just three games in 2012, LeBron is already up to 21 points in the fourth quarters.
In Game 3, LeBron had the ball with 3:47 to go in the game and exploded past Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant for a layup. Durant fouled LeBron and James hit the free throws for a three-point play that keyed Miami’s victory.
“Just a totally different player,” Heat superstar Dwyane Wade said of LeBron. “It’s kind of like when he puts his head down and goes to the rim, you have to foul him or he’s going to finish. I love when he is attacking the basket because good things happen for us.”
LeBron’s attacking was crucial for the Heat in Game 3. James was just 2-8 outside of the painted area in Game 3, but inside the lane he was 9-15. LeBron finished the game with 29 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Through three games of the NBA Finals, LeBron is averaging 30.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. LeBron is also shooting 46 percent from the field and 86 percent from the free throw line in the NBA Finals.
LeBron carried the Heat to the NBA playoffs en route to a third NBA MVP award this season. If he can keep up the pace he’s started the Finals with for the final two victories the Heat need; the team will be hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy and hosting a parade down Biscayne Blvd. soon.