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Dallas Mavericks win NBA Finals Game 5, lead Miami Heat three games to two

DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks finally have the lead in these ultra-close NBA Finals, and now it really is "now or never" for LeBron James and the Heat.

Nowitzki scored 29, driving for the go-ahead dunk with 2:45 remaining, and the Mavericks made 13 3-pointers to beat the Heat 112-103 Thursday night, taking a 3-2 lead.

Five years after going up 2-0 on the Heat, the Mavs can wrap up their first championship in Game 6 at Miami on Sunday.

"We're a very resilient team, you know that," said Mavs guard Jason Terry, who scored 21. "We've been in tough battles all playoffs long. It's not going to stop. It's going to get even harder. But we're ready. We're determined, and this is our time."

James, who called this game "now or never," responded from his worst playoff performance with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, and Dwyane Wade battled through a sore left hip after a first-quarter collision to finish with 23 points. James had the first triple double in Heat playoff history.

They get the final two games at home, but history is against them as they try to win a title in their first season together: In the 26 previous times the Finals were tied 2-2, the Game 5 winner won 19.

"We're much better than this,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

The Mavs shot 60 percent through three quarters, briefly gave up the lead in the fourth, then controlled the final few minutes, just as they had in comebacks in Games 2 and 4.

This time, they got to play from ahead thanks to sizzling shooting: 56.5 percent from the field, including 13 of 19 (68 percent) from 3-point range.

"That was a big win,'' Nowitzki said. "Now we're going down there, we don't want to give this great team any hope.''

Nowitzki said he was fully recovered from a fever that he played through in Game 4.

James wrote "Now or Never!!" on his Twitter page early Thursday, later calling this the biggest game of his career.

But they feel the same urgency in Dallas, where the slogan "The Time is Now" is on those blue T-shirts that surround the court, and where the Mavs are loaded with 30-somethings — late 30s, in Jason Kidd's case — who could be on their last shot at an NBA title.

Did you know? James is the fifth player in the past 25 years to have a triple double in a losing effort in the Finals, and only Larry Bird in 1986 went on to win the title that season, according to Elias Sports Bureau. … Twelve of the 20 quarters in the Finals have been decided by two points, one point or tied, according to Elias. The average margin per quarter in the first five games is 2.7 points, the lowest in the Finals in the shot clock era:

MIAMI (103): James 8-19 1-2 17, Bosh 6-12 7-9 19, Anthony 1-1 0-0 2, Bibby 1-2 0-0 2, Wade 6-12 10-12 23, Haslem 5-8 0-0 10, Miller 3-5 0-0 9, Howard 3-3 0-0 6, Chalmers 4-6 3-3 15, House 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 37-70 21-26 103.

DALLAS (112): Marion 4-11 0-0 8, Nowitzki 9-18 10-10 29, Chandler 5-7 3-5 13, Barea 6-11 1-1 17, Kidd 4-6 2-2 13, Terry 8-12 2-2 21, Cardinal 1-1 1-2 4, Stevenson 1-2 1-2 4, Mahinmi 1-1 1-3 3. Totals 39-69 21-27 112.

Miami 31 26 22 24— 103

Dallas 30 30 24 28— 112

3-Point GoalsMiami 8-20 (Chalmers 4-6, Miller 3-4, Wade 1-2, Bibby 0-1, Bosh 0-1, House 0-2, James 0-4), Dallas 13-19 (Barea 4-5, Kidd 3-5, Terry 3-5, Cardinal 1-1, Nowitzki 1-1, Stevenson 1-2). Rebounds—Miami 42 (James, Bosh 10), Dallas 32 (Chandler 7). AssistsMiami 25 (James 10), Dallas 23 (Terry, Kidd 6). Fouls—Miami 26, Dallas 20. TechnicalsMarion.

NBA Finals

Mavericks 3, Heat 2

Game 1: Heat 92, Mavericks 84

Game 2: Mavericks 95, Heat 93

Game 3: Heat 88, Mavericks 86

Game 4: Mavericks 86, Heat 83

Thursday: Mavericks 112, Heat 103

Sunday: at Miami, 8, Ch. 28

Tuesday: at Miami, 9, Ch. 28 *

* If necessary

Mavs 112

Heat 103

Dallas Mavericks win NBA Finals Game 5, lead Miami Heat three games to two

06/09/11 [Last modified: Friday, June 10, 2011 12:46am]
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