The Dallas Mavericks held a one point lead at the half and would open the third quarter of the first game of the 2011 NBA Finals scoring the first seven points of the period and appeared as if they might grab the win over the home team the Miami Heat. Once again however the duo of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade took control of the contest late as the Heat came back in front of their fans at American Airlines Arena and beat Dallas by a final score of 92-84.
James hit two clutch threes late in the third giving Miami the lead at the end of the period while Wade would finish the job in the fourth. The former forward of the Cleveland Cavaliers led the Heat with 24 points for the evening while D-Wade racked up a double-double including 22 points. Dirk Nowitzki knocked down a game high 27 points but did not have enough help from his teammates to capture the victory.
Both clubs looked rusty during the opening period as Dallas and Miami had a long layoff after winning their respective Conference Finals last week. The Heat would hold the advantage for most of the first until Jason Terry was fouled by James with 37 seconds left in the period. The Dallas veteran made both his shots at the line putting his team on top 17-16 at the end of the quarter. Miami would again hold the upper hand for most of the second until Terry buried a 25 foot trey in the closing seconds. As the two teams left the floor when the game reached the half the Mavericks would hold the edge with the score 44-43.
Dallas looked sharp at the start of the third as they pulled ahead 51-43 and looked as if they were on the verge of taking the game over. Throughout the Playoffs when ever the Heat would be behind late in games James and Wade would propel them to victory. With their team’s back against the wall Wade would start to cut the deficit by making two straight shots. After Chris Bosh split a pair at the line James drained a 23 foot trey with 7:20 left in the third cutting the Mavericks lead to 53-51. Dallas would start to pull ahead again when James gave Miami their first lead of the period at 60-59 with 1:12 remaining when he knocked down a three-point shot 24 feet from the basket. The former NBA MVP would then connect on a 25 foot trey at the buzzer putting Miami on top 65-61.
The Mavericks would pull to within two points of their opponents early in the fourth but they would soon fall behind and never could rally during the period as the Heat took the opening game of the NBA Championship series.
James scored 24 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal while Wade had 22 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and two blocks. Bosh added 19 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and a block while Mario Chalmers came off the bench with 12 points, 1 assist, 1 rebound and 1 steal.
Nowitzki knocked down 27 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists in the Mavericks loss. Shawn Marion recorded a double-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, a block and a steal while Terry chipped in 12 points, 1 assist and 1 rebound. The two teams will meet again Thursday night for game two of the match-up.