The Dallas Mavericks rallied to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 100-96 and advance to the National Basketball Association Finals for the second time.
The Mavericks trailed by eight points with 8:03 to play at the American Airlines Center in Dallas last night before outscoring the Thunder 21-9 to win the best-of-seven Western Conference finals by four games to one.
Dallas will play the Miami Heat or the Chicago Bulls for the NBA title. The Heat lead the Bulls 3-1 in games and can wrap up the Eastern Conference title with a win in Chicago today. Dallas won the first two games of the 2006 NBA Finals against the Heat before losing four in a row.
“Five years ago we had a great chance, we were right there where we wanted to be and just couldn’t close it out,” Dirk Nowitzki said in a televised courtside interview. “We’re back again and hopefully with a better result.”
Nowitzki scored five of the Mavericks’ final eight points last night and gave his team the lead for the first time in the fourth quarter with a 3-point jumper with 1:14 remaining.
Nowitzki and Shawn Marion were the top scorers for the Mavericks with 26 points each.
The Thunder, who turned over the ball six times in the fourth quarter, were led by Russell Westbrook with 31 points, while Kevin Durant and James Harden each added 23 points.