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Monday, June 6, 2011
Dirk Nowitzki faces Udonis Haslem

By Calvin Watkins

Toward the end of Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Dirk Nowitzki hit the game-winning bucket while covered by Chris Bosh. It was not a matchup that favored the Heat, especially with Bosh saying Nowitzki can "carve you up" with his moves to the basket.

Well, Nowitzki scored on a layup over Bosh.

In Game 3 on Sunday night, Nowitzki had the ball in his hands and took on Udonis Haslem, not Bosh. This is a matchup the Heat wanted.

Nowitzki missed a jumper from the foul line that hit the back of the rim.

Haslem was looking forward to facing Nowitzki with the game on the line after not getting a chance to guard him in the closing seconds of Game 2.

"I'm a competitor and he’s a competitor, and I’m sure both of us look forward to the opportunity like that," Haslem said. "I was just fortunate enough the shot didn’t go in, and he's made that shot dozens of times. An awkward shot for another guy is a good shot for him."

"He's one of the best defenders we have at the power forward spot," Nowitzki said of Haslem, who missed the bulk of the season with a foot injury. "He's active. To me, it really hurt them him being out for so long. He's back in time. He's kind of a glue guy. He does all the little things. He sets screens, he does all the dirty work. He's a good rebounder. He's great in pick-and-rolls, showing. He does all the little things, and they got him right back in time."