MIAMI--LeBron James said the leg cramps that twice forced him out of the Game 4 of the NBA Finals had subsided Wednesday, though the Miami Heat star reported some soreness.
“I’m still a little sore because of the muscles just kind of being at an intense level, very tight,” said James, who scored 26 points and made the go-ahead three-pointer during Miami’s 104-98 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday that gave the Heat a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
James participated in the Heat’s light practice Wednesday and pronounced himself ready for Game 5 on Thursday night at American Airlines Arena.
“I think I’m going to use today as an opportunity to continue to improve with my legs,” James said. “And also with the game being basically at midnight ... I have all day [Thursday], too, to prepare. I should be fine.”
James initially had to be carried off the floor after his cramps struck midway through the fourth quarter. He returned a few minutes later and made a three-pointer that gave Miami a 97-94 lead before limping back to the bench and staying there with 55 seconds left.
The Heat can close out the Thunder with a victory in Game 5, giving James his first NBA title after he lost in the Finals with Cleveland in 2007 and with the Heat last year.
“My approach won’t change and it won’t be difficult,” said James, who is averaging 29.3 points in the Finals and has repeatedly come up big in fourth quarters. “I have a job to do, and my job is not done. You know, I’ve been very focused and I’m determined for us to play at a high level. So I will make sure my guys are ready for Game 5.”
Although no team has rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals, the Thunder rattled off four consecutive victories in the Western Conference finals against San Antonio after the Spurs had won their previous 20 games.
“We’re not going to give up,” Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant said. “We’re going to keep fighting to the end, and hopefully we can take this thing back to the crib.”
Games 6 and 7, if necessary, would be in Oklahoma City.