For Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat, a victory on the road in Game Three of this year's NBA Finals meant more than just retaking home court.
"I've been here before," Wade, who scored seven points in the fourth quarter, told Reuters.com.
"Last game, we kind of went away from getting me the ball down the stretch in spots where they have to double or I can get a shot off," he added.
Wade responded with the same grit that earned him the 2006 Finals MVP, scoring 29 points and adding 11 big rebounds as the Heat fended off the Dallas Mavericks 88-86 on Sunday to take Game Three and reclaim home court advantage.
Chris Bosh pitched in with 18 points, including a go-ahead 16-footer with 39 seconds left in the fourth to put the game away for the Heat. Having never won in his hometown of Dallas, Bosh overcame a swollen left eye he suffered in the first quarter to come up big for Miami.
Lebron James added 17 points, as the Heat exhibited the mental toughness necessary to take this year's NBA title. The Heat are now just two wins away from taking this year's championship and can do so in similar fashion to their 2006 win over Dallas by taking the next two on the road.
Since the NBA switched over to the 2-3-2 finals format in 1985, the winner of Game Three in a tied series has gone on to become champions.
"Tonight I tried to be aggressive," Wade told Reuters.com. "I didn't shoot every time [and] I passed out to my teammates. This is a total win. We wanted to win the game on the defensive end of the floor and it came down to getting a stop [on Nowitzki]."
But once again, the Heat encountered trouble when trying to put the Mavs away. With an 81-75 lead heading into the last seven minutes of the fourth, Nowitzki continued his fourth-quarter magic by scoring 12 straight for the Mavs, including six from the foul line.
Unfortunately for the hometown Mavs, Nowitzki's late charge fell short as he finished the game with 34 points.
The two teams meet again in Dallas on Tuesday for the fourth time in the seven-game series.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Wade turns up Heat on Mavericks to take series lead
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