Ailing Dirk Nowitzki was under the weather on Tuesday night, but the
German wunderkind had just enough energy left to lift the Dallas
Mavericks over the top.
Nowitzki scored 21 points, including the go-ahead layup with 14.4
seconds left, sparking the Mavericks to another stunning
come-from-behind victory, 86-83 over the visiting Miami Heat to square
the NBA Finals at 2-games apiece.
"I just battled it out," said Nowitzki, who hit just 6-of-19 shots
and pulled down 11 rebounds despite playing with the flu and a 102
"He was struggling, had a fever last night and everyone could see he
was labouring," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said of his superstar.
"Fighting through that was not easy, but he did a great job doing
everything he could possibly do."
Reserve Jason Terry scored 17 points, Shawn Marion added 16 while
Tyson Chandler finished with 13 and 16 rebounds for Dallas, which
outscored its guests 21-14 in the final frame to climb back into the
Dallas hosts swing game five on Thursday night in the 2-3-2 format
before the series shifts back to Miami for the final two contests.
"We're in a great position to take control of the series," Terry said. "It's going to be another knock out fight."
The Mavericks were looking to avoid falling behind 3-1, because no
team has ever rallied from such a hole to win a Finals series.
Trailing by nine just two minutes into the final quarter, the
Mavericks showed their resilience, finishing on a 21-9 run behind 10
points from Nowitzki.
"It didn't look good," Nowitzki said, "but our energy and defence really picked us up."
"It was all about effort," Chandler said. "With the way Dirk was
feeling we were going to do whatever we needed to do to get the win.
"For the average person it's just tough to get out of bed," he
continued. "Dirk is playing sick against the best athletes in the world,
but he came out and put it all out on the line."
Terry started the rally with two baskets, Nowitzki had four free
throws around a scoop layup and Chandler had a put back layup to pull
the hosts within 78-77.
Terry made a breakaway layup, Chandler split a pair of free throws
and Nowitzki sank two from the stripe, putting the Mavericks ahead 82-78
with 2:16 left.
The Heat pulled to within 82-81, but Dwyane Wade missed the second of
two free throws with 30.1 seconds left and Nowitzki grabbed the
The exhausted Nowitzki got the ball at the free throw line out of a
timeout and dribbled down the clock before spinning past Udonis Haslem
down the right side to shovel in a layup off the glass for an 84-81
advantage. The move was similar to the winner he had in the game two
"Dirk is one of the greatest ever," Carlisle said. "He wants to have
the ball and the responsibility of winning the game, so we make every
effort to put him in those situations."
Wade's dunk with 9.0 seconds left made it a one-point game, but
Terry's two free throws with 6.7 left pushed the lead back to three.
"This is something you practice all your life," Terry said. "It's the NBA Finals. You focus and you knock down the shots."
Miami had a shot to force overtime, but Wade fumbled the inbound pass
and recovered the ball in the back court to find Mike Miller, who
missed an off-balanced three-pointer at the buzzer to the delight of the
fans at sold-out AmericanAirlines Center in Dallas.
"It was a great pass," Wade said, "but I got anxious because I saw an opening and just fumbled it."
Wade finished with 32 points, Chris Bosh added 24, but LeBron James
had just eight on three-of-11 shooting for Miami, which blew a golden
opportunity to put a stranglehold on the series.
"I definitely didn't play great offensively," said James, who added nine boards and seven assists. "I must be more assertive.
"The fact that it happened in a loss is the angry part about it for
me. I could have done more to help our team win, but I'll come back in
James is confident the Heat can rebound from this stinging loss and head home with a 3-2 lead.
"We've always been a good bounce back team," he said. "We understand
game five is a golden opportunity. If we execute a little better than we
did in game four, we can go back home and close this thing out."
"We'll be able to respond," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "These guys live for these moments."
الموضوع الاصلى : رصد جميع أخبار الرياضة العربية و العالمية .(العــ 1 ـــدد) ليوم : 09/06/2011 المصدر :منتدياتالأكام الكاتب: الأمير