Once again, the Heat thought they had a game in the bag, and managed to lose a double digit lead in the fourth quarter.
The Mavericks defeated the Heat 86-83 on Tuesday to even the NBA Finals at 2-2 and, in the process, send the best-of-7 series back to Miami. But first there’s Game 5 at Dallas’ American Airlines Center.
“Game 5, the swing game,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Thursday’s swing game could have been the potential series clincher but Miami played too poorly in the fourth quarter to make the NBA Finals a short series like it did against Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago. Miami went more than seven minutes without scoring a field goal before Dwyane Wade scored a dunk with nine seconds left in the game.
It cut the Mavericks lead to one point, but Jason Terry made two free throws with 6.7 seconds left to force Miami into a three-point shot
The Heat’s final chance seemed as broken as the fourth quarter. Wade mishandled the inbounds following a timeout but saved it by throwing a desperation pass to Mike Miller. Miller forced an awkward three-pointer that missed badly as time expired. The Mavericks outscored the Heat 21-14 in the final fourth quarter and forced six turnovers. Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 21 points — 11 in the final period. Wade had 32 points and Chris Bosh added 24, but Miami couldn’t overcome a poor shooting night by LeBron James. He was 3-of-11 shooting with eight points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
“We’ll work to help make it easier for [James] in the next game,” Erik Spoelstra said. “I’ve got to do a better job of making sure he’s in better positions to be aggressive and efficient.”
Nowitzki played despite a fever and was congested during his postgame news conference.
“Sitting at 2-2 right now and obviously we would like to get Game 5 at home before going back to Miami,” Nowitzki said. “That’s a big game for us.”
The Heat trailed 82-81 with 30 seconds left when Wade missed his second of two free throws. Nowitzki scored on a driving layup with 14.4 seconds left to give the Mavericks an 84-81 lead.
Three of eleven??? Get it together, LeBaby! You know this is your only chance to shut down the perpetual hate!