The Dallas Mavericks overcame a 15-point deficit with six minutes, 20 seconds to play to beat the Miami Heat 95-93 and tie the National Basketball Association Finals at one game apiece.
Dirk Nowitzki scored the final nine points for the Mavericks last night, including the winning layup with his injured left hand, to cap a 22-5 run and hand the Heat their first home loss of the playoffs.
“We got the split, this is big, so now we’ve got to go home and play a great Game 3,” Nowitzki told reporters at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami. “This is a pivotal game now. You can’t steal one on the road and then go home and lose the next one.”
In the fourth quarter, Dallas surrendered 13 straight points and committed five turnovers to trail 88-73 before turning the game around.
Jason Terry made a 16-foot jump shot to start the Dallas revival, and the visitors tied it at 90 on a Nowitzki layup with 57 seconds remaining.
Nowitzki hit a 3-pointer with 26 seconds left to make it 93-90. Miami tied it two seconds later on a 3-pointer from the corner by Mario Chalmers off an in-bounds play.
“To get the lead after being down 15 was big, and then we just leave a shooter wide open,” Nowitzki said. “That was a mental breakdown, but we still had a good position -- we had 24 seconds left and had the ball in a tied game.”
Nowitzki completed the scoring with three seconds left on a driving layup with his non-shooting hand. Nowitzki tore a tendon in the middle finger of his left hand in Game 1 and had it taped last night.
“All the players have their bumps and bruises at this time of the year, so you’ve just got to play through it,” Nowitzki said.
The Mavericks overcame a 15-point deficit with 4:48 to play to win Game 4 of the Western Conference finals before outscoring the Oklahoma City Thunder 21-9 in the last eight minutes of the next game to win the series and advance to the NBA Finals.
Nowitzki finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Shawn Marion contributed 20 points and eight rebounds for Dallas.
Dwyane Wade had 36 points for the Heat and LeBron James added 20 points and eight rebounds.
“We’ve made our mistakes today. We can’t let it linger. We have to just leave this where it is,” Miami’s Chris Bosh told reporters. “There’s no shock. There’s disappointment.”
The best-of-seven game series now moves to Dallas for the first of three games on June 5. The Heat beat the Mavericks in six games in each team’s only previous visit to the NBA Finals in 2006.