Updated: 21/06/2012 21:50 | By pa.press.net

Heat move to brink of victory

Lebron James was in sparkling form for the Miami Heat

Lebron James was in sparkling form for the Miami Heat

The Miami Heat opened up a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven NBA finals with a 102-96 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Florida.

LeBron James top-scored for the home side with 26 points and Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers scored 25 each.

The Thunder's score was built around a stunning 43 points from Russell Westbrook, though the guard's foolish late personal foul handed Chalmers the chance to see his side home from the free-throw line. Kevin Durant added 28 points.

Oklahoma dominated the first quarter, opening up a 33-19 lead, but Miami roared back in the second to go into the half-time break only three points in arrears at 49-46.

Wade scored four points to put the Heat ahead at 50-49 four minutes into the third quarter and from 60-60 they pulled away into a lead which peaked at seven points.

Leading 92-90, they had a scare when key man James limped off with cramp and the Thunder regained the lead for the first time in over 18 minutes at 94-92, but James' return then heralded a 7-0 run for his side.

Westbrook cut the gap to three but an underarm lay-up by Chalmers took his side into three figures, and into a two-possession lead with 44.6 seconds remaining.

The Heat have their first chance to clinch the series on Thursday night in game five.

10 reasons to make MSN UK your homepage (© Microsoft)

latest sport news

  • Stuart Broad is one of several players with a point to prove

    Peter Moores admits he has yet to figure out whether England's whitewash Ashes defeat has left him with a clutch of cricketers with their best days behind them.

  • Matt Prior has not yet closed the door on his England career

    Matt Prior remains as determined as ever to play for England but just wants to take time out to get 100 per cent fit.

  • Yorkshire's Adil Rashid celebrated his season's best figures of four for 27

    Yorkshire returned to the top of the LV= County Championship Division One table when they completed a comprehensive 220-run victory over Middlesex at Scarborough by bowling them out for 201.