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List of Articles by Homer D. Sayson


Mavs shoot lights out, take 3-2 NBA Finals series lead

By Homer D. Sayson
11 Jun 2011

IN THE past four games of these NBA Finals, Dallas needed it's lone superstar to come up big and somehow equalize Miami's Big Three.

So far, Dirk Nowitzki has never failed to supply his team's multifarious needs, including Thursday night's pivotal Game 5 when the Big German scored 29 points, grabbed 6 rebounds, dished 3 assists and went perfect from the free throw stripe, 10-for-10.

On this Game 5, though, on one magical night in Texas, the Mavericks didn't need Nowitzki to carry them all the way to victory.

Because for the first time in this championship series, the Mavericks hit their stride early and often and shot the ball sizzlingly well as a team, hitting 39 of 69 field goals (56.5 percent), including a mind-bending 13 of 19 from 3-point range.

Miami, led by its intrepid superstar Dwyane Wade, fought gallantly back from a 9-point deficit and briefly took a 99-95 lead with just 4:37 left in the fourth quarter. But the Mavs responded with a blistering 17-4 run to pocket Game 5, 112-103, and move to within a win away from their franchise's first ever NBA title.

And in the cauldron that was the American Airlines Center, there were plenty of Dallas heroes to go around with.

Jason Terry was the biggest of them all. Bullied by the 6-foot-8 LeBron James' defense for most of the series, the 6-foot-2 Terry did the bullying this time. Terry, 32 and an 11-year veteran, finished with 21 points including a killer 3 in the final 33 seconds that pushed the Mavericks ahead for keeps, 108-101.

JASON KIDD had a so-so night with 13 points and 6 assists that were stained by 3 turnovers. But when the Heat crept to within 102-100 with still 1:25 to go, the 38-year old calmly sank a 3 that broke Miami's spirit.

JJ Barea came calling. And Miami simply had no answer. The 5-foot-9 guard tore the Heat's vaunted defense to shreds, penetrating at will and executing the pick-and-roll with cold-hearted efficiency. The damage he inflicted upon Wade and Co. read like this -- 17 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds and 4 triples.

"We didn't want to go to Miami and give them basically two shots to close us out. So we kept plugging there in the fourth. So definitely a big win for us," Nowitzki said during the post-game press conference.

Wade ignored the pain of an injured hip to lead Miami with 23 points, but his main co-conspirator, LeBron James, had another underwhelming performance.

James, who described Game 5 as the "biggest game of his life" managed a triple double -- 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists -- but he had yet another fourth quarter disappearance.

"I could have made more plays for my team, "said a dejected James.

Obviously, he didn't. In the final 5:59 to play, a time usually reserved for superstars to shine, when Game 5 hung in the balance, James had zero assists, zero rebounds, and made just 1 of 3 shots.

His only two points in the fourth quarter was a meanigless lay-up in the final 29 seconds when the game had long been decided.

Miami shot relatively well on the road, 37 of 70 field goals (52.9 percent) and 8-of-20 3s (40 percent). They also did a better job rebounding the ball, 36-26, but the Heat made too many turnovers (16) and couldn't survive the 39 points that Dallas manufactured from beyond the arc.

In the previous 26 NBA Finals, 19 teams that won Game 5 went on to win the title. With two chances on hand, Dallas shoots for the stars beginning with Game 6 Sunday night at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. If necessary, Game 7 is set Tuesday night also at the AAA. (Homer D. Sayson)

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