Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mavericks top Heat 105-95 for NBA title

MIAMI – Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks captured their first NBA championship Sunday with a 105-95 win over the Miami Heat — the team that ended Dallas’ shot at a title five years ago.

Jason Terry scored 27 points and Nowitzki finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds as the Mavericks won the best-of-seven championship series four-games-to-two.

Germany’s Nowitzki was named Most Valuable Player of the finals, finally securing the NBA’s biggest prize to secure his place among the NBA legends.

“This is unbelievable,” said Nowitzki, who turns 33 next Sunday. “We are a resilient bunch. This team has come back from huge deficits all season long.”

Terry ran the clock down in the final minute then passed to a wide open Shawn Marion who chose not to shoot as the seconds clicked down.

When the buzzer sounded Marion handed the ball to 17-year veteran guard Jason Kidd who tried twice before in the finals but failed to get a ring.

J.J. Barea had 15 points and five assists for the Mavericks, who clinched their first NBA championship in their 31 year franchise history.

LeBron James scored 21 points and Dwyane Wade finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Heat, who failed to send the series to a decisive seventh game despite having home court advantage.

“Hats go off to Dallas,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “There is an emptiness to it. It was a tough series. Sometimes you just come up short. Crunch time needed to be done, they made bigger plays than us.”

This year’s final was a rematch of the 2006 NBA championship series, which Miami took in six games for its first title in franchise history.

With Terry having a superb start to game six, the Mavericks led 53-51 at the end of the first half in what began as a game of runs by either side. Terry came off the bench to score 19 points in the first two quarters on eight-of-ten shooting.

James had his best start of the series by scoring nine points and dishing three assists in the first quarter.

Tempers flared halfway through the second quarter when the Mavericks’ DeShawn Stevenson and Miami’s Udonis Haslem got into a shoving match.

Haslem was celebrating an Eddie House three pointer when he brushed past Stevenson who shoved him. The Heat players came charging off the bench and Mario Chalmers made a bee line for Stevenson.

Chalmers, Haslem and Stevenson all received technicals but no one was thrown out because a timeout had already been called before the players left the bench.

Nowitzki struggled early, scoring just a single point in the second quarter, and finished with three points on one-of-12 shooting in the opening half. He finished strong, however, by scoring 10 of his 21 in the fourth.

Dallas’s Ian Mahinmi of France nailed a buzzer-beating field goal at the end of the third to give the Mavericks a nine point lead at 81-72. Dallas got their own rebound and Terry ran down the clock and then pump faked James before slipping a short pass over to Mahinmi who got nothing but net.

The Heat had almost twice as many free throw chances as the Mavericks but hit just 60 percent of them. They also had 16 turnovers.

Although the Mavericks had several players in foul trouble in the fourth, they built their biggest lead of 13 points in the final period.

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