Friday, June 10, 2011
Mavs close out AAC in style in 2010-11
By Art Garcia
DALLAS -- The Mavericks finished up their 2010-11 run at American Airlines Center on a high note, taking control of the NBA Finals with Thursday night's 112-103 victory in Game 5.
Playing in front of another sellout crowd -- the 58th straight in the playoffs -- the Mavs took a 3-2 series lead against the Heat and now own a closeout opportunity Sunday night at Miami. Capacity crowds are the norm at the AAC, with a regular-season sellout streak reaching 399 that ranks as the longest current string in the league.
The fans have grown accustomed to winning over the last decade in the friendly confines. The Mavs were 38-14 at home this season, including 9-2 in the playoffs.
"It's awesome for the fans and for Dallas to go out like this," J.J. Barea said. "They enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun to play all year here for them, so hopefully we can bring the title here to Dallas."
Though getting past the Heat in Game 5 represents much more in the title chase than just playing at home, the Mavs were conscious of what it meant for their loyal supporters. Still, not returning to Miami down 3-2 was the overriding motivation.
"The fans have been great," Jason Terry said. "They're the best in the business. We really take pride in our homecourt advantage. We use it as an edge. And from the tip they were into it. It's something that we love. We cherish it.
"And now we have to go on the road and take care of business. We want to win this thing for them as much as we do for ourselves."
If the Mavericks are going to bring back the first title in franchise history, they'll have to win in another AA building. Miami's verson --- the AmericanAirlines Arena -- is the site for Sunday night's Game 6 and, if needed, Tuesday night's deciding Game 7.
Dallas was 28-13 on the road during the regular season, tying the Heat for the best road record. The Mavs' 6-3 road mark in the postseason includes a Game 2 win at Miami. Get one more and they're the champs.
"We're going in there Sunday swinging, like we did [Thursday] from the jump," Dirk Nowitzki said, "and hopefully steal one Sunday."