Sunday night the Miami Heat jumped out to a seven point advantage over the Dallas Mavericks at the conclusion of the first quarter of game three of the NBA Finals. That first quarter lead would prove to be mighty beneficial to the Heat as they hung on to defeat the Mavericks 88-86 to take a 2-1 lead in the best of seven series. The victory also gives Miami back home-court advantage in the match-up as they won the first game played at the American Airlines Center in Dallas after losing game two at home.
Dwyane Wade led the way for the Heat as he racked up a double-double with 29 points for the night. Dirk Nowitzki also recorded a double-double while scoring a game high 34 points; but did not have enough help from his teammates to get the win at home. Only two other players on the Mavericks roster scored in double-figures in the contest and just like in the first game of the Finals they showed they can not beat Miami in that fashion.
The visitors came out with a strong performance in the opening period while the Mavericks looked as if they needed a road map to find the basket in their own arena. Mario Chalmers threw up a 36 foot prayer at the buzzer that miraculously went through the net putting his team on top 29-22 at the end of the quarter. Jason Kidd split a pair at the line with three seconds left in the second but the Mavericks still trailed as the game reached the half with the score 47-42.
Miami looked as if they were ready to run away with the game early in the third as they held a 13 point lead at 55-42 with 10:11 left in the period as LeBron James knocked down a mid-range jumper. Dallas came back though as they went on a 15-2 run and knotted up the game at 57-57 as Shawn Marion drove the lane putting the rock through the hole. Miami would take back the edge at the end of the quarter leading 67-64.
The Heat would once again jump out to a healthy lead in the fourth but once again Dallas responded tying the game at 86-86 with 1:39 left to play as Nowitzki connected on a mid-range shot. Neither team would be able to score for the next 60 seconds of action but then Chris Bosh knocked the game winning bucket with 39 seconds on the clock and this time the Mavericks could not regroup as Miami held on for the win.
Wade scored 29 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, a block and a steal while Bosh had 18 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist. James added 17 points, 9 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals while Chalmers came off the bench with 12 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists.
Nowitzki had a double-double including 34 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks an assist and a steal in the loss. Jason Terry came off the bench with 15 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal while Shawn Marion chipped in 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a block. Miami now holds a 2-1 series edge with game four to be played in Dallas on Tuesday.