The Norman Transcript

Sports

May 23, 2014

Heat turn it on in fourth quarter

MIAMI — LeBron James has perhaps a surprising take on the Miami Heat: To him, they’re not the most talented bunch.

Yes, he was serious.

In James’ eyes, much of Miami’s success hasn’t been primarily about talent, but more about execution and know-how — especially so in the closing moments of games, the stretch that the Heat have long called “winning time.” Fourth quarters have been a strength lately for the Heat, something they hope is the case again on Saturday when their Eastern Conference title series against the Indiana Pacers resumes in Miami.

“We’re talented, but we’re not that talented,” James said. “We have a really, really good team. We have some very talented guys. We’re not the most talented team, I don’t think, in the NBA. There’s a lot of other talented teams. We have some very, very high-IQ basketball players. And I think IQ is more important than talent.”

James wouldn’t say which teams he thinks are more talented.

But there’s no arguing which team has been the best in the last two seasons — and the way the Heat close games are a big reason why that’s the case.

They’ve called it “winning time.”

It’s not a new thing for Miami, either.

There was the 28-15 fourth quarter that blew open a tied Game 7 against Boston in the 2012 East finals, the rally from eight down entering the fourth to oust Chicago in last season’s second round, the 30-19 run in the fourth to eliminate Brooklyn in this year’s second round — and of course, the season-saving comeback that included Ray Allen’s unforgettable 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation against San Antonio in Game 6 of last year’s NBA Finals.

“I think everybody becomes more focused,” Allen said.

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