Tuesday night Dallas Mavericks All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki evoked memories of Michael Jordan against the Utah Jazz. Nowitzki suffering from a fever and bronchitis rose to the occasion in the fourth quarter as he scored 10 of his 21 points and led the Mavericks to a comeback victory over the Miami Heat by a final margin of 86-83.
Nowitzki racked up a double-double and this time he got support from his teammates including Dallas center Tyson Chandler who also registered a double-double for the night. Miami had a chance to tie the contest as time was running out but Dwyane Wade could not handle an inbounds pass. Wade recovered the ball and passed it to Mike Miller who threw up a desperation three-point shot that did not come close to the basket.
Wade was the game’s leading scorer with 32 points while Chris Bosh ended up with 24 points in the game. However All-Star forward LeBron James had his worst performance in the Post Season as he could muster just eight points in the contest. No other player on the Heat roster broke double-figures in scoring for the night.
Neither team looked particularly sharp on the offensive end during the opening period. Mavericks guard Jose Juan Barea hit a pair at the line with five seconds left in the quarter and the score was knotted up at 21-21 at the conclusion of the first. Miami would dominate early in the second but Dallas came back and took the lead as the quarter progressed. The two clubs then traded the lead back and forth until Mario Chalmers knocked down a running jumper with 29 seconds to play in the period. As the two teams headed to their locker rooms when the game reached the half the Heat were on top 47-45.
The contest remained tight in the third as once again the two opponents volleyed the lead throughout the period. James hit a mid range jumper with 1:17 left in the quarter and Miami would hold the advantage heading into the fourth at 67-65. Udonis Haslem connected on a mid-range jumper with 10:11 left in the game putting the Heat on top 72-65. The Mavericks responded with a 12-4 run and took the lead on Tyson Chandler basket with 5:43 on the clock making it a 77-76 contest. Dallas would retain the lead for the rest of the night but the Heat would still have a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds until the play broke down when Wade could not handle the pass cleanly.
Nowitzki scored 21 points, 11 rebounds and 1 assist to lead the Mavericks to victory. Jason Terry came off the bench with 17 points, 3 assists and 3 steals while Shawn Marion had 16 points, 4 rebounds and a block. Chandler racked up a double-double with 13 points, 16 boards, an assist and a steal while DeShawn Stevenson came off the bench with 11 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist.
Wade scored 32 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals. Chris Bosh was the only other Heat player to score in double figures as the big man had 24 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block. Dallas ties up the NBA Championship series at 2-2 with the win and game five will be played in Dallas on Thursday.