The Dallas Mavericks overcame an off-shooting night by Dirk Nowitzki, helped by Jason Terry's 27 points, to defeat the Miami Heat 105-95 and capture their first NBA Championship. The Mavericks won the last three games of the series by dominating the fourth quarter.
This was another game of runs. Miami, led by LeBron James' nine early points, ran out to a 20-11 lead. Dallas then went on a 21-4 run of their own, helped by two three-pointers by DeShawn Stevenson to take a 40-28 lead. Then Miami scored the next 14 points to take a two-point lead and the battle was on. Dallas took a two-point advantage into the second half and held off Miami the rest of the game. They extended their lead to 81-72 after three quarters and the Heat never seriously threatened in the fourth.
What was the difference in the game and the series?
Dallas never faltered in the fourth quarter, tonight included. They shot very well and Jason Kidd ran the offense smartly and efficiently. Dallas executed much better at the end of the games than Miami. The Mavericks shot very well from long distance. Tonight they were 11-for-26 on three's (42%) vs. Miami's 7-for-23 (30%).
Dallas's zone defense clogged up the middle for the Miami offense, stopping their penetration and forcing them into outside shots. The Heat shot decently, especially Chris Bosh (7-for-9) from the key, but it wasn't enough. The Mavericks generally took care of the ball well, got back on defense and limited Miami's transition baskets. Tonight Dallas scored 27 points off Miami turnovers. The Heat's nine first half turnovers really hurt them.
The Heat may have had two of the three best players on the court, but they did not have the better team. Dallas had contributions throughout their roster. Terry had an amazing game, shooting 11-for-16. J.J. Barea was extremely effective, making the right decisions on his numerous penetrations. Barea scored 17 on 7-for-12 from the field and dished out five assists. Kidd hit two important late three-pointers besides playing 36 minutes with eight assists and only two turnovers. Tyson Chandler was solid throughout the series in the middle, playing excellent defense and rebounding (eight tonight). Shawn Marion brought energy on offense. Stevenson hit his three-pointers (three tonight). Brian Cardinal played tough defense drawing an offensive foul on Dwyane Wade which also resulted in a technical on Wade. Even seldom used Ian Mahinmi came up with a big offensive rebound and 16-foot jumper at the close of the third quarter.
Miami's free throw shooting was terrible tonight. They left 13 points off the scoreboard and missed both ends of two-shot fouls three times. The Heat had a 15-shot advantage on the charity stripe and didn't take advantage of it.
Nowitzki finished the night shooting 9-for-27, at one point he was 1-for-12. He did come on strong in the fourth quarter with ten points, but Dallas showed they are a complete team to win with a sub-par shooting effort from their star. They were poised, got contributions up and down their roster, and were clearly the better team. They aren't the most athletic or explosive team, but they know how to play the game, and they are champions!
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