Heat try to inch closer to NBA title in Dallas
(Sports Network) - The NBA Finals will resume tonight in Dallas, as the Mavericks host the Miami Heat in Game 4.
Miami regained home-court advantage and went a leg up in the set on Sunday in North Texas when Dallas native Chris Bosh buried the go-ahead jumper with 39.6 seconds left, and the Heat survived another late shot from Dirk Nowitzki to beat the Mavs, 88-86, and take a 2-1 series lead.
After Dwyane Wade had scored seven straight points for the Heat, Bosh worked his way into a wide-open position off the left baseline to set up his shot. Guarded closely, LeBron James gave the ball up, settling for the go-ahead assist instead of the go-ahead points.
"It was the right play. We've been making the right plays," said Bosh. "We trust each other. This is as big as it gets and when you can trust someone like that, I think it's great."
"I saw C.B. wide-open," added James. "I don't care if he's missed 15 (shots) in a row. That's his sweet spot."
Following a timeout, Nowitzki got the inbounds pass and dribbled Udonis Haslem down to the foul line, stepping back for a contested fadeaway that bounced high off the rim as time expired.
"We found ways to make plays on both ends of the court, to grind this game out," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
The Heat rebounded from a demoralizing loss in Game 2, when Nowitzki scored his team's final nine points to lead the Mavericks back from a 15-point deficit in the final six-plus minutes, making the winning layup with his injured left hand in the final seconds.
"You can't lose a game like that and come and lose Game 3," said Wade. "And we made enough plays to win the ballgame."
Still playing with a small splint on his left middle finger, Nowitzki poured in 34 points Sunday, including 12 in a row to end the game as the Mavs continued to look for their 7-foot jump shooter on the offensive side.
"Dirk is doing his part," said Mavs guard Jason Kidd, "but everybody has to pitch in."
Nowitzki hit a 13-foot fadeaway floater over Haslem to tie the game at 86-86. His final missed shot was his 21st of the game. He scored 15 points in the fourth quarter.
"We'd like to make it easier on him," said Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, who played Nowitzki nearly 42 minutes. "But tonight was tough. Tonight was not one of those nights."
Wade scored 29 points to lead the Heat, while Bosh, who was inadvertently poked in the eye early in the game by Kidd, added 18 and James scored 17. Miami shot 43.6 percent and won despite being outrebounded 42-36, including a 12-9 deficit on the offensive glass. Wade also led the Heat in rebounds with 11.
Jason Terry had 15 points off the bench for Dallas, but scored just five after halftime. Shawn Marion chipped in 10 points, while Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler pulled down 11 rebounds apiece. Kidd had 10 assists and nine points in the loss.
"This series is turning out to be a series of endurance," said Spoelstra.
If history is any indicator, the Mavs may have played themselves into a pickle. Since the NBA went to a 2-3-2 series format in the Finals back in 1985, the winner of Game 3 after a split in the first two games has gone on to win the title all 11 times.
The series is a rematch of the 2006 NBA Finals, when Wade and the Heat beat Nowitzki's Mavericks in six games after falling behind 0-2 in the series. It was the only other time either franchise made the Finals.
Dallas backup center Brendan Haywood, who missed Game 3 with a right hip flexor injury, was able to shoot on Monday but is still regarded as a game-day decision tonight.
"It's a little bit of everything," the big man said. "The hip is one of those areas; it's in charge of a lot of stuff. It's in charge of your lateral movement, it's in charge of when you're taking off and running. So, it affects me in just all movements basically."
Bosh, meanwhile, said his eye "feels a lot better" on Monday.
"Last night was rough, really for the whole game for me. It is what it is," he said. "That's over and we just have to stay on top of it and make sure it's not an issue Tuesday night."
Game 5 of the series will also be in Dallas on Thursday.
06/07 10:32:55 ET