History not on Mavs' side after Game 1 loss

June, 1, 2011

MIAMI -- When the current NBA playoff format was established in 1984, the Game 1 winner has gone on to claim the championship in 20 of the 27 series. The last team to lose in the Finals after winning Game 1 -- the 2006 Mavericks, which beat the Miami Heat, 90-80, in Game 1 before losing the series in six games.

Before that, you have to go back to the 2001 Philadelphia 76ers, which beat the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the 2001 Finals before losing the series in five games.

Overall, the Game 1 winner has won 47 of 64 series in the NBA Finals.

In 2006, much was made of how Dwyane Wade took over the series for Games 3-5 in Miami.

On Tuesday night, Wade also took over, scoring 22 points in 38 minutes. It didn't look like the weekend break from practice affected him much, if at all. Wade scored seven fourth-quarter points and made two great passes, leading to late-game dunks for Chris Bosh and LeBron James.

"They have two very good closers; two of the best in the game," Dirk Nowitzki said. "Dwyane made some big shots there in the fourth quarter, and LeBron has been shooting the ball really well this playoffs. Yeah, he had some looks and really made some tough shots."

Both teams are downplaying the significance of that 2006 series as only four players -- Dirk, Jason Terry, Wade and Udonis Haslem -- remain.

"You can't get down with a loss," Nowitzki said. "You have to come back strong on Thursday. I said it a couple of times this playoff run: If you're the road team, you're happy with the split."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.



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Dirk Nowitzki
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
ReboundsS. Dalembert 6.8
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.2