Rapid Reaction: Mavericks 95, Heat 93
How it happened: The Mavericks pulled off a miracle. Again.
For the second time in three road games, Dallas erased a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit to pull off a stunning comeback.
Miami’s stars celebrated a Dwyane Wade 3-pointer by dancing in front of the Dallas bench. It certainly seemed like a dagger shot, capping a 13-0 run to put the Heat up 15 with 7:33 remaining.
Dallas responded with a dominant run, as it did after Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant busted out an imaginary championship belt when his 3 gave the Thunder a 15-point lead over Dallas in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.
The Mavs roared back with a 22-5 run to steal the game and even the series.
Dirk Nowitzki, who had nine of his 24 points in the final 2:44, finished the job with a pretty left-handed finger roll on the Mavs’ final possession. Jason Terry was the closing co-star, scoring half his 16 points in the fourth quarter.
Miami’s stars had pretty numbers and put together a highlight reel. Wade scored 36 points. LeBron James added 20. But they were scoreless during the final four minutes of a phenomenal Mavs finish.
What it means: Dallas avoided near-certain death. Since the Finals went to the 2-3-2 format in 1985, a team with a 2-0 lead has won the title 14 of 15 times. (The exception: the Mavs, who folded against the Heat in 2006 after the city of Dallas publicly released its parade route.) Only three of 31 teams in Finals history have dug out of a 2-0 hole to win the title, with the 2006 Heat joining the 1969 Celtics and 1977 Trail Blazers.
Play of the game: Nowitzki hit the game winner after taking Chris Bosh off the dribble, spinning and finishing with his left hand. So much for that torn tendon in his middle finger being a factor.
Stat of the night: The last team to overcome a 15-plus-point deficit in the fourth quarter of a Finals game was the Chicago Bulls, who rallied to beat the Trail Blazers on June 14, 1992.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
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Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.