Heat get defensive late to take series lead

June, 6, 2011
6/06/11
1:38
AM ET
By ESPN Stats & Info
ESPN.com
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In a game that featured four lead changes and nine ties, the Miami Heat went ahead for good on a Chris Bosh jumper with less than 40 seconds to play to hang on to an 88-86 Game 3 win over the Dallas Mavericks.

Bosh finished with 18 points as the Dallas native finally won a game in Big D after eight previous losses there. It was just the Heat's second win in their last 13 trips to Dallas including the regular season.

Dirk Nowitzki led all scorers with 34 points, including the final 12 for Dallas. He tied the game at 86 with a jumper with 1:40 left, but the Heat would not allow the Mavericks to score again forcing a turnover and two missed shots on Dallas' final three possessions. One of those misses was the potential game-tying field goal by Nowitzki as time expired.

In the final period, Nowitzki did not get much help from his teammates. Jason Terry was 0-for-4 from the field in the fourth and Shawn Marion did not attempt a field goal despite playing all but four seconds in the quarter.

Nowitzki has made all 24 of his free throws in this year's NBA Finals, including 9-for-9 from the line in Game 3. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the longest streak of consecutive free throws made to begin an NBA Finals since Reggie Miller made his first 25 shots from the line during the 2000 Finals.

Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 29 points and 11 rebounds, making eight of his 12 field goals within five feet. Wade leads all players this postseason with most field goals made from that range.

The Mavericks bench scored just 25 points, the third time this series it has been held to fewer than 30 points. Dallas is now 10-12 this season when its bench scores 29 or fewer points compared to 60-18 when scoring 30 or more.

The Heat are now 27-15 this season when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combine to score between 60 and 74 points. They scored 64 on Sunday.

Miami is two wins away from its second title in the last six seasons and history is on the Heat's side. Since the NBA Finals went to the 2-3-2 format beginning in 1985, (when the series has been tied, 1-1) the winner of Game 3 has gone on to win the championship all 11 times.

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