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NBA Playoffs 2012, Heat Vs. Thunder: Cramps Can't Stop Miami

The Miami Heat won again in Tuesday night. They beat the Oklahoma Thunder by a final score of 104-98, taking a 3-1 lead in the series. One more win gives them the NBA title, and takes away a popular topic of conversation in basketball circles, the one about whether or not LeBron James can lead his team to title.

James played a crucial role in his team's win, playing through intense cramping in the fourth quarter that sent him to the bench for stretches of time, including the final moments with Miami hanging onto a narrow lead. Twice in the fourth quarter, James put the Heat on top, including a three-point shot near the end of the game while cramping.

Peninsula Is Mightier, SB Nation's Heat blog, describes how Miami held on for the win:

Mario Chalmers made a huge layup after a Wade/Bosh pick-and-roll play broke down. Wade made a huge block on a Thabo Sefolosha 3-point attempt in the corner, playing excellent help-and-recover defense. And on Miami's ensuing possession, the Thunder forced a jump-ball situation with 17 seconds on the game clock but only five seconds to shoot. Shane Battier made a heads-up play and tipped the ball to Chalmers. Westbrook apparently didn't know about the shot clock, and immediately fouled the former Kansas guard. The 2008 second-round pick knocked down three free throws to ice the game and put Miami within 48 minutes of winning a championship.

Russell Westbrook had a big night for the Thunder, but did not get the contributions from his team to make it count. It was reminiscent of some earlier Heat games in these playoffs.

Game 5 is Thursday night in Miami.

Stick with this StoryStream for all your news throughout the 2012 NBA Finals. For more on the Heat, visit Peninsula Is Mightier. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, visit Welcome To Loud City and SB Nation Kansas City. For all your Finals analysis, visitSB Nation's NBA hub.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.