Miami 101, Dallas 100 (OT)
Wade’s Heroics Have Heat One Win From Title
MIAMI, June 18 (Ticker) -- Dwyane Wade has the Miami Heat one win from an NBA title and the Dallas Mavericks totally at a loss.
In another spectacular performance, Wade scored 43 points and capped a classic contest with two free throws with 1.9 seconds remaining to lift the Heat to a 101-100 victory over the Mavericks in the pivotal fifth game of the NBA Finals.
Counted out a week ago, the Heat became just the second team to win the middle three home games in the 2-3-2 format to engineer a complete reversal of the series and put themselves in position to win the championship in Dallas on Tuesday.
"We've got to win one on the road to reach our goal," Wade said. "We've got a challenge ahead of us and I'm excited about this team's chances with the challenge."
The challenge would not be possible without Wade, who led a stirring comeback with 42 points in Game 3 and did himself one better in Game 5. He worked through a slow start to make 11-of-28 shots and an astounding 21-of-25 free throws.
"It's very demanding," Wade said. "I played 50 minutes and I felt good on the court, but I'm starting to feel it now. I'm a little tired."
Wade's parade to the line matched the Mavericks and set a Finals record for most free throws made. No matter the defender, he has found the seams in the defense and ripped them apart.
"That's his personality as a player, and it was in college, and it is now and probably forever will be," Riley said. "He took what the defense gave him, but he's very, very smart when they are in the penalty. ... He's not going to accept anything less but go to the basket."
Wade continues to confound the Mavericks, who had victory in their grasp several times but unraveled with a series of missed free throws and a huge strategic mistake down the stretch.
Playing shorthanded, Dallas used everything at its disposal, including "Hack-a-Shaq." But it still came up one point short.
At both the end of regulation and overtime, the Mavericks had the lead but could not get a grasp on Wade, who made a pull-up banker with 2.8 seconds remaining to force overtime and weaved his way through the entire defense at the end of the extra session.
A jumper by Dirk Nowitzki over Shaquille O'Neal gave the Mavericks a 100-99 lead with 9.1 seconds remaining. After a timeout, the Heat inbounded into the backcourt to Wade, who snaked through four defenders along the right side and drew a foul from Nowitzki.
"It was like two or three guys coming at me," Wade said. "I was just trying to get a little space where I could use my quickness to get by them. Once I got by Jason (Terry), I was able to maneuver my way to the basket."
"I kind of thought I went out of the way and they gave him the call," Nowitzki said. "So I thought it was a tough call."
After Wade made the first free throw, Dallas coach Avery Johnson signaled that he wanted a timeout - his last - after the second attempt. Josh Howard called for it immediately and left the Mavericks stranded as they could not move up to mid-court after Wade drained the second free throw.
"Josh Howard goes to (referee) Joe DeRosa and not only once but twice asks for a timeout," referee Joey Crawford said in a statement. "(We were) forced to call it, simple as that."
"If that's what he said, then that's what he said, but I know I didn't call a timeout twice," an angry Howard said. "I didn't even say nothing to anyone."
Already with one technical foul, Johnson argued vehemently but in vain.
"Pretty much most people who have ever been involved in the NBA for 20, 30 years know we wouldn't want one (between the free throws)," Johnson said. "So we were pretty dumbfounded that that couldn't get relayed."
Forced to inbound beneath their own basket, the Mavericks saw a running 50-footer by Devin Harris not come close, sending them home with no margin for error.
"We've got to come out in Game 6 with a controlled anger," said guard Jason Terry, who has been the most consistent player in the series for the Mavericks.
Johnson's strong words about consistency in the officiating over the last two days fell on deaf ears. The Mavericks were whistled for 38 fouls while the Heat were called for just 26. Miami shot 49 free throws, making 32.
O'Neal had 18 points and 12 rebounds, also spending considerable time on the foul line. Twice in the fourth quarter, he was put there intentionally by the Mavericks, who tried to exploit his 2-of-12 free-throw shooting.
"I just really wanted to hit 'em," said O'Neal, who was taken off the floor several times to prevent the Mavericks from fouling him. "It felt good leaving my hand but it just didn't go in."
Jason Terry scored 35 points and Howard added 25 for Dallas. However, both players got off to quick starts and cooled off in crunch time, as Terry did not make a basket in the final eight-plus minutes and Howard did the same for the fourth quarter and overtime.
The Mavericks withstood the absence of suspended reserve swingman Jerry Stackhouse. They regained control of the backboards with a 42-33 edge in rebounding. They survived another sub-par game by Nowitzki, who managed 20 points on 8-of-19 shooting. But they could not weather Wade.
"Wade is obviously playing great," Johnson said. "We tried a lot of different things on him."
"You have to have will, strong will in this game, if you want to get where you've got to get to," Wade said. "That's to the end, that's to the final thing, and that's to the championship."
For the second straight year in the Finals, Game 5 went to overtime after the home team had won the first four games. The Mavericks led for most of the fourth quarter and still held a 93-91 edge when Nowitzki dribbled across the lane, drew a crowd and dished to Erick Dampier for a dunk with 10 seconds to go.
Wade responded with a strong drive before pulling up for a short banker that tied it with 2.8 seconds left. He scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, including Miami's last 11.
Wade had a three-point play to cut the deficit to 88-87, a jumper that gave Miami an 89-88 lead and another jumper that extended to 91-89 with 1:08 to play. Nowitzki answered with a spinning jumper that tied it 19 seconds later.
"(Wade) had a fabulous game," O'Neal said. "He stuck up for me. I told him that I owe him one."
After his scorching fourth quarter, Wade opened overtime with a pull-up banker to give Miami a 95-93 lead. A jumper by Harris pulled the Mavericks into a 97-97 tie with 2:25 to go and a free throw by Erick Dampier provided a one-point lead at the 1:41 mark.
Dallas had a chance to extend the advantage, but Howard missed two free throws with 54 seconds left. After making their first 18 free throws, the Mavericks finished 3-of-7.
Miami's Gary Payton appeared to have his second game-winner of the series when he threw in a running left-handed drive for a 99-98 lead with 29 seconds to go. Nowitzki, who was bottled up at times, buried his go-ahead jumper and shot a sneer at the courtside crowd as he ran upcourt.
The double-teams on Nowitzki turned loose both Terry and Howard for 19 points in the first half, when Dallas took the raucous crowd out of the game.
"They were just swarming me, nothing new," Nowitzki said. "JT had a great night. Josh was great."
After disappearing in Game 4, Howard threw himself right into this contest, looking for his offense. He scored six quick points to help the Mavericks open an early 11-5 lead and teamed with Terry to score Dallas' last 21 points of the first half.
Marquis Daniels, who assumed a portion of Stackhouse's minutes, came on early in the second quarter and made a shot from the arc - his first points of the series - to cut the deficit to 31-30 before Terry and Howard took control.
In the final six minutes of the second quarter, Terry scored 12 points, including a steal and layup, two jumpers and a pair of 3-pointers. Despite straining his hamstring, Howard added nine, draining two jumpers, tipping in his own miss and completing a driving three-point play.
The groans at American Airlines Arena mounted as Miami - unable to unleash Wade, who missed nine of his last 10 shots of the half - fell behind by 11 points before a 3-pointer by Jason Williams closed the deficit to 51-43 at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Heat continued their march to the foul line but still could not make any headway until Wade finally came alive. Two jumpers by Terry had the margin at 71-63 before Wade retaliated with a pair of jumpers of his own and a cross-court pass that James Posey turned into a 3-pointer, making it a one-point game entering the fourth period.