In 2006, the HEAT, making their third consecutive postseason appearance and 11th of all-time, culminated the season with their first NBA championship. Along the way, the HEAT set postseason franchise records for victories (16), home victories (11) and consecutive home wins (eight) in a single playoff season. The HEAT, which earned the second seed in the Eastern Conference, opened the 2006 postseason by defeating the Chicago Bulls in six games. In the Eastern Conference Semifinals it took just five games for the HEAT to eliminate the New Jersey Nets from postseason play for the second straight year. After dropping the opener at home, Miami's only home postseason loss in 2006, the HEAT rebounded with four consecutive wins, three by double-figures and the final contest by a single point. For the second consecutive year and third time in franchise history the HEAT advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals where Miami opposed the two-time defending Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons. The HEAT eliminated the Pistons in six games, winning three of the games by double-digits, including a 17-point victory in the series-ending game. The 2006 NBA Finals matched a pair of teams making their first appearance as the HEAT took on the Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks. After dropping the first two games in Dallas, the HEAT became just the third team in NBA history to rebound from a 0-2 Finals deficit to win the series, joining the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers and the 1969 Boston Celtics.
FIRST ROUND (MIAMI-4, CHICAGO-2)
Game 1-Apr. 22 (Miami 111, Chicago 106): Dwyane Wade scored 14 of his team-high 30 points in the fourth quarter as the HEAT opened the 2006 Playoffs with a 111-106 victory over the Chicago Bulls. The 20,288 spectators at the AmericanAirlines Arena set a HEAT postseason single-game home attendance record. Wade, who converted 14 of his 16 free throw attempts, helped Miami rally from a four-point fourth quarter deficit and put the HEAT up for good when he hit a jumper with 7:06 left in the final quarter. He also handed out a game-high 11 assists as the HEAT grabbed a 1-0 lead in the series. Shaquille O'Neal finished with 27 points and a team-high 16 rebounds for Miami while Jason Williams, Antoine Walker and James Posey all playing in their first postseason game as a member of the HEAT each scored in double figures. Williams totaled 17 points and Walker and Posey each added 10. Ben Gordon, who hit a game-high five three-point field goals, led the Bulls with a postseason career-high 35 points. The five treys by Gordon were the most by an individual against the HEAT in the 2006 postseason and one shy of the postseason record by a Miami opponent. As a team, Chicago converted 13 of its 26 three-point field goal attempts and the 13 treys set a franchise record for a HEAT opponent. Kirk Hinrich added 19 points and a team-high eight assists and Andres Nocioni totaled 18 points and a team-high 16 rebounds for the Bulls. The 14 defensive rebounds grabbed by Nocioni established a postseason record for a HEAT opponent. Miami converted 32 of its 39 free throw attempts (82.1 percent) compared to 13-of-17 (76.5 percent) by the Bulls. The HEAT also recorded a 2006 postseason-high 11 steals and added eight blocks. Miami won despite having to overcome the loss of starting power forward Udonis Haslem who was ejected with 4:11 remaining in the second quarter after he threw his mouthpiece to the ground on a non-foul call that subsequently led to a one-game NBA suspension.
Game 2-Apr. 24 (Miami 115, Chicago 108): Six HEAT players scored in double figures as Miami took a 2-0 series lead with a 115-108 victory over the Bulls before a sellout crowd of 20,214 at the AmericanAirlines Arena. Shaquille O'Neal and Jason Williams each finished with 22 points while Dwyane Wade added 21 points and a team-high seven assists, marking just the third time in franchise history the HEAT had three 20-point scorers in the same postseason game. Antoine Walker totaled 17 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, James Posey, starting for the suspended Udonis Haslem, finished with 12 points and Gary Payton contributed 10 points off the bench. The six double-figure scorers tied the franchise postseason record. The 115 points were one shy of the Miami postseason record. The HEAT did set postseason records for total field goals (44) and points in a first half (68). Andres Nocioni, who converted 13 of his 15 field goal attempts, led the Bulls with 30 points and Kirk Hinrich added 29 points and a team-high seven assists. Miami entered the third quarter with a 19-point lead (95-76) before the pair combined to score 28 of Chicago's 32 fourth quarter points and pull the Bulls within four points (108-104) with 1:15 remaining. Miami got a field goal from Wade and five free throws from Williams and Payton over the final 1:15 to secure the victory.
Game 3-Apr. 27 (Chicago 109, Miami 90): The HEAT suffered their largest defeat of the 2006 postseason, dropping a 109-90 decision before a sellout crowd of 22,133 at the United Center. Ben Gordon led the way for the Bulls with 24 points. Chicago also received 22 points and a game-high 11 assists from Kirk Hinrich, 21 points and eight rebounds off the bench from Luol Deng and 19 points and a team-high nine rebounds from Andres Nocioni. Leading by three, 59-56, with 7:12 left in the third quarter the Bulls took command of the contest, outscoring Miami by 13 points the remainder of the quarter to take a 16-point lead into the final quarter. Miami would get no closer than 15 points the rest of the contest. Hinrich led the way with 15 points in the third quarter as Chicago scored 39 points while shooting 72.2 percent (13-18) from the floor. Miami was led by Dwyane Wade's 26-point performance. The HEAT also received 17 points from Jason Williams, 11 points from Antoine Walker and 10 points and a game-high 10 rebounds from Udonis Haslem. Shaquille O'Neal, who was limited to just 24 minutes of action due to early foul trouble, was held to eight points. In a game which featured 79 free throw attempts, the Bulls connected on 32 of 46 attempts from the charity stripe. The loss became especially tough for Miami when James Posey was ejected with 3:15 remaining in the fourth quarter due to a flagrant foul which would result in a one-game NBA suspension.
Game 4-Apr. 30 (Chicago 93, Miami 87): The trio of Andres Nocioni (24), Ben Gordon (23) and Kirk Hinrich (21) combined to score 68 of Chicago's 93 points in the Bulls' 93-87 victory over the HEAT in front of a sellout crowd of 22,361 at the United Center. With the score tied at 83, Chris Duhon put the Bulls ahead to stay with an eight-foot jumper with 1:42 remaining. After the HEAT missed a field goal attempt, Hinrich drained a three-point field goal off an assist from Duhon with 1:09 left. Chicago iced the victory by converting five of its six free throw attempts in the final 26 seconds. Antoine Walker topped the HEAT with 21 points and Dwyane Wade recorded a double-double with 20 points and a game-high 10 assists. Shaquille O'Neal, limited to just 24 minutes for a second straight game due to foul trouble, finished with 16 points and Udonis Haslem contributed 12 points and nine rebounds. Miami was limited to just five free throw attempts for the game and converted four. The four free throws made and five attempted both set postseason franchise lows for the HEAT. Miami also set postseason franchise lows for free throws made (0) and attempted (1) in the second half. Conversely, the Bulls connected on 24 of their 31 attempts.
Game 5-May 2 (Miami 92, Chicago 78): Dwyane Wade scored a game-high 28 points and rallied the HEAT to a 92-78 victory over the Bulls in front of a sellout crowd of 20,287 at the AmericanAirlines Arena. With just under three minutes remaining in the second quarter and the HEAT leading by three, Wade suffered a hip contusion which caused him to miss the final 2:35 of the first half and the first 6:10 of the third quarter as he received treatment. When he returned the Bulls had their largest lead of the game at 55-50. Upon his return the HEAT immediately went on a 7-0 run to re-take the lead. Miami then took command of the game in the fourth quarter to grab a 3-2 series lead. The HEAT outscored Chicago, 42-23, after Wade returned with 5:50 left in the third quarter. Antoine Walker added 17 points and seven rebounds and Shaquille O'Neal recorded a double-double with 16 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. James Posey scored seven of his 12 points in the fourth quarter and grabbed eight rebounds in the game. Entering the fourth quarter tied at 61, Miami converted 60 percent (12-20) of its field goal attempts in the final quarter and limited Chicago to 20 percent (3-15) shooting. Andres Nocioni recorded a double-double with 23 points and a team-high 10 rebounds to lead the Bulls who also received 16 points and nine rebounds from Michael Sweetney and 10 points from Ben Gordon.
Game 6-May 4 (Miami 113, Chicago 96): Shaquille O'Neal tallied 30 points, 20 rebounds, five assists and two blocks as the HEAT eliminated the Bulls before a sellout crowd of 22,584 at the United Center. The victory was Miami's first postseason win in Chicago and also marked the HEAT's first series win over the Bulls in four attempts. O'Neal's 30-point, 20-rebound performance was the first in HEAT postseason history and the first in the NBA since O'Neal accomplished the feat against Detroit in the 2004 NBA Finals as a member of the Lakers. Dwyane Wade added 23 points and a team-high six assists while James Posey continued his stellar play off the bench contributing 18 points, including five three-point field goals, and grabbing seven rebounds. Udonis Haslem recorded his second double-double of the series with 17 points and 14 rebounds while Antoine Walker finished with 12 points. The HEAT, which registered a 51-34 edge on the glass and a 21-7 advantage in second chance points, opened the game on a 13-4 run and forced the Bulls to miss 12 of their first 14 field goal attempts. Miami stretched the lead to as many as 17 in the opening half and led by 14, 55-41, at the break. Chicago got as close as nine points on two occasions in the second half, the final time with 4:58 remaining in the contest, but Miami countered with a 9-0 run to secure the victory. Kirk Hinrich (23) and Ben Gordon (21) combined for 44 points for the Bulls but were held to 14-35 shooting. Andres Nocioni added 20 points for Chicago which also received 12 points from Luol Deng and 10 from Jannero Pargo.
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS (MIAMI-4, NEW JERSEY-1)
Game 1-May 8 (New Jersey 100, Miami 88): New Jersey opened the game with a 12-2 run and never looked back in handing Miami a 100-88 defeat before a sellout crowd of 20,208 at the AmericanAirlines Arena. The loss was the only home defeat in the 2006 postseason for the HEAT in 12 games. New Jersey shot 71.4 percent (15-21) from the floor in the opening quarter and led 38-21 after the first 12 minutes. The 38 points marked the most the HEAT has ever given up in the first quarter of a postseason game. The Nets pushed the lead as high as 28 points midway through the third quarter. On two occasions in the fourth quarter Miami got as close as nine points. The trio of Vince Carter, Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson provided most of the damage against the HEAT. Carter, who was 15-19 from the foul line, finished with 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Kidd totaled 22 points, a team-high nine rebounds, a game-high seven assists and a game-high four steals. Jefferson tallied 20 points, five assists and four rebounds. The only other Net to score in double figures was Nenad Krstic who had 11 points. Dwyane Wade led the HEAT with 25 points and Shaquille O'Neal recorded a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Miami, which shot only 39.1 percent (27-69) from the floor and 18.2 percent (4-22) from three-point range, also received 12 points from Jason Williams and 10 from Udonis Haslem.
Game 2-May 10 (Miami 111, New Jersey 89): In a complete reversal from Game 1, the HEAT opened this contest on a 25-4 run en route to a 111-89 triumph over the Nets before a sellout crowd of 20,227 at the AmericanAirlines Arena. Dwyane Wade scored 17 of his game-high 31 points in the opening quarter. His 17 first quarter points set a HEAT postseason record for points in a first quarter. Wade also added a team-high six assists and a game-high four steals. The HEAT, which led by as many as 23 in the first quarter, outscored New Jersey, 41-19, in the first 12 minutes. The 41 points are the most Miami has ever scored in a quarter in postseason play and tied the Nets' postseason record for most points allowed in a quarter. The HEAT shot 70 percent (14-20) in the opening period while limiting New Jersey to 31.3 percent (5-16) shooting. Miami also capitalized on turnovers in the opening quarter turning six New Jersey miscues into 16 points. The HEAT took a 60-40 lead into the locker room at the half, marking only the third time in the franchise's postseason history it had a halftime lead of at least 20 points. New Jersey got no closer than 15 points in the second half. In addition to Wade's 31-point effort, Miami received 21 points from Shaquille O'Neal, 14 points from Jason Williams, 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds from Udonis Haslem and 11 points off the bench from Gary Payton. Vince Carter led five Nets in double figures with 22 points. Richard Jefferson, playing with an ankle sprain that occurred in Game 1, finished with 16 points, Jason Kidd had 15 points and a team-high six assists, Nenad Krstic had 14 points and a team-high seven rebounds and Lamond Murray added 11 points off the bench.
Game 3-May 12 (Miami 103, New Jersey 92): In a game that featured eight ties and 15 lead changes the HEAT grabbed control late in the fourth quarter to record a 103-92 victory before a sellout crowd of 20,102 at the Continental Airlines Arena. The 15 lead changes were the most in any Miami postseason contest in 2006. Trailing 81-80 in the final quarter, Dwyane Wade hit a driving lay-up and converted the free throw for a conventional three-point play with 4:22 left to put Miami ahead to stay. The HEAT forced the Nets into turnovers in four of their next five possessions and Wade scored 15 of Miami's final 21 points, hitting all 11 of his free throw attempts in the final 4:22. Wade led the HEAT in both points (30) and assists (10) and also grabbed seven rebounds. Shaquille O'Neal added 19 points and nine rebounds, Antoine Walker tallied 16 points and James Posey scored eight points and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds. Vince Carter's 43 points, 17 field goals and 34 field goals attempted all led the Nets and rank as the third highest individual total against the HEAT in a postseason contest. Richard Jefferson added 17 points for New Jersey which also received 10 points, a game-high 12 assists and eight rebounds from Jason Kidd. Miami was able to put the game away connecting on 90.5 percent (19-21) of its free throw attempts in the fourth quarter. For the game Miami converted 85 percent (34-40) of its free throw attempts in the game compared to just 60 percent (12-20) by New Jersey. The Nets played without reserve forward Cliff Robinson, who began the first of his five-game NBA issued suspension.
Game 4-May 14 (Miami 102, New Jersey 92): Dwyane Wade amassed team highs in both points (31) and assists (8) and grabbed seven rebounds to propel the HEAT to a 102-92 victory over the Nets before a crowd of 19,474 at the Continental Airlines Arena. Antoine Walker, who nailed five three-point field goals and Udonis Haslem, who grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds, each scored 20 points and combined to shoot 68 percent (15-22) from the floor for Miami. Shaquille O'Neal added 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds as the HEAT took a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. With Miami leading, 94-90, Gary Payton hit his lone shot of the game, a three-point field goal from the left corner with 56.4 seconds remaining, and the HEAT closed out the contest by hitting five of its final six free throws to secure the victory. The HEAT was victorious despite New Jersey receiving a triple-double by Jason Kidd with 17 points, 13 rebounds and a game-high 12 assists. The triple-double was the ninth of Kidd's postseason career and the first against Miami in postseason play. The Nets also received 20-point performances from Vince Carter (26) and Nenad Krstic (20 points and a postseason career-high 14 rebounds) and a 17-point effort from Richard Jefferson. Miami shot 52.9 percent (37-70) from the floor and 42.1 percent (8-19) from three-point range while limiting the Nets to 42.9 percent (36-84) from the floor and 20 percent (4-20) from downtown.
Game 5-May 16 (Miami 106, New Jersey 105): Dwyane Wade's steal of an inbounds pass with ninth-tenths of a second remaining ended the game and the series as Miami eliminated the Nets with a 106-105 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 20,255 at the AmericanAirlines Arena. With the win the HEAT captured the series, 4-1, and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second consecutive year. Antoine Walker led a balanced Miami scoring attack, which placed six players in double figures, tying the franchise postseason record. Walker scored 12 of his team-high 23 points in the second quarter as the HEAT rallied from being 12 down (36-24) with 10:42 remaining to being tied at the half at 54. In addition to his series-clinching steal, Wade put the HEAT ahead to stay with his dunk with 4:37 remaining in the contest, snapping a 96-96 tie. He scored 21 points, handed out six assists and grabbed six rebounds. The HEAT also received double-figure scoring efforts from Shaquille O'Neal (17), Jason Williams (12), Alonzo Mourning (11) and Gary Payton (10). Udonis Haslem contributed eight points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds for the HEAT which shot a series-high 56 percent (42-75) from the floor. Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson each contributed 33 points, seven rebounds and five assists in a losing cause for New Jersey. The only other Nets to score in double figures were Jason Kidd who finished with 20 points, a game-high eight assists and six rebounds, and Lamond Murray who chipped in 14 points and seven rebounds off the bench. New Jersey lost despite shooting a series-high 54.1 percent (40-74) from the floor.
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS (MIAMI-4, DETROIT-2)
Game 1-May 23 (Miami 91, Detroit 86): The HEAT opened the Eastern Conference Finals with solid 91-86 victory over the Pistons before a sellout crowd of 22,076 at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Miami made a statement early scoring the first 11 points of the contest and forcing the Pistons to miss their first six field goal attempts. The HEAT connected on 75 percent (15-20) of its field goal attempts in the first quarter compared to 35.3 percent (6-17) by the Pistons. The 15 field goals made by the HEAT in the quarter set a franchise postseason record for most field goals in a quarter. Early Miami foul trouble was the one thing that kept the Pistons in the contest early, as Detroit hit all 13 of its free throw attempts in the opening quarter and trailed, 33-25, entering the second quarter. The Pistons cut the Miami lead to four at the half and eventually took the lead in the third quarter. A 9-1 run midway through the third quarter staked the Pistons to a 60-55 lead, their largest of the evening, with 4:05 left in the quarter. The HEAT responded by scoring the next nine points and never looked back. James Posey's three-point field goal with 2:15 left in the third quarter snapped a 60-60 tie and put Miami ahead to stay. Dwyane Wade, who was limited to just 27 minutes due to foul trouble, finished with a game-high 25 points and a team-high five assists while connecting on nine of his 11 field goal attempts. Shaquille O'Neal, who was limited to just 29 minutes due to foul trouble, tallied 14 points and eight rebounds. Antoine Walker contributed 17 points and seven rebounds, Gary Payton added 14 points off the bench and Jason Williams had 10 points for Miami. Richard Hamilton led the Pistons in scoring with 22 points. The Pistons also got double-figure scoring efforts from Chauncey Billups (19), Tayshaun Prince (16) and Antonio McDyess (10). Ben Wallace grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds for Detroit, which was outrebounded by the HEAT, 43-33. Miami also outshot the Pistons from the floor 56.3 percent (36-64) to 37.8 percent (31-82).
Game 2-May 25 (Detroit 92, Miami 88): Tayshaun Prince scored a team-high 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Pistons evened the Eastern Conference Finals at a game apiece with a 92-88 victory over the HEAT before a sellout crowd of 22,076 at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Detroit jumped out to a 25-12 lead at the end of the first quarter and never trailed. Richard Hamilton scored 20 of his 22 points in the first half as Detroit took an 11-point lead into the locker room at the half. Chauncey Billups scored all 18 of his points in the second half as Detroit withstood a furious Miami comeback attempt. Billups also added a game-high eight assists. Rasheed Wallace scored 16 points and Ben Wallace grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds as Detroit ended Miami's four-game road winning streak. Dwyane Wade led the HEAT with 32 points, seven rebounds and five assists while Shaquille O'Neal recorded a double-double with 21 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. Antoine Walker was the only other HEAT player to score in double figures as he totaled 11. Trailing 83-71, the HEAT scored 17 points in the final 1:47 of the contest, but it wasn't enough as Billups hit a pair of free throws with 8.7 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
Game 3-May 27 (Miami 98, Detroit 83): Dwyane Wade scored a game-high 35 points, grabbed eight rebounds and made a momentum swinging block in the fourth quarter as the HEAT took a 2-1 lead in the series with a 98-83 victory before a sellout crowd of 20,245 at the AmericanAirlines Arena. The HEAT took the lead three minutes into the opening quarter and led the rest of the way. Miami was up by 11 at the half and by 12 at the end of the third quarter. The Pistons scored the first 11 points of the fourth quarter to pull within one. On their next possession, Chauncey Billups found a wide-open Antonio McDyess driving to the basket, but Wade made a key block on the defensive end and followed up on the offensive end with a three-point play that put the HEAT up by four with 6:54 left in the contest. Beginning with Wade's three-point play, Miami outscored Detroit, 24-10, the rest of the way for the win and series lead. Shaquille O'Neal recorded a double-double with 27 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Miami also received double-figure scoring from Antoine Walker (11) and Udonis Haslem (10). Detroit got 31 points from Chauncey Billups and 20 from Richard Hamilton, but the HEAT limited the trio of Tayshaun Prince, Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace to 16 points on 26.3 percent (5-19) shooting from the floor. Rasheed Wallace recorded a double-double with 11 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. The HEAT shot 58.2 percent (39-67) from the floor. The 58.2 percent accuracy was Miami's high for the 2006 Playoffs and the second best single-game mark in the franchise's postseason history. Miami also enjoyed a 50-16 advantage in points in the paint and a 40-27 edge on the boards.
Game 4-May 29 (Miami 89, Detroit 78): Dwyane Wade scored 12 of his game-high 31 points in the fourth quarter as Miami recorded an 89-78 victory over the Pistons in front of a sellout crowd of 20,248 at the AmericanAirlines Arena. Miami jumped out to a 42-28 lead with 2:10 left in the second quarter before the Pistons closed the opening half on a 10-2 run to cut the deficit to six. The Pistons would eventually grab a four-point lead midway through the third quarter. The HEAT entered the fourth quarter up by two before grabbing control of the game and the series. Miami outscored Detroit, 27-18, in the final 12 minutes. The HEAT shot 64.3 percent (9-14) in the decisive quarter while limiting Detroit to 33.3 percent (6-18) shooting. A 13-4 HEAT run midway through the quarter put the HEAT up by a dozen with 5:01 remaining and the Pistons got no closer than nine from that point on. In addition to Wade's 31-point effort, Miami received 21 points and a team-high nine rebounds from Shaquille O'Neal and 16 points from Udonis Haslem. The Pistons, who enjoyed a 14-4 edge in offensive rebounds and a 20-4 advantage in second chance points, had five players score in double figures led by the 15-point performance of Tayshaun Prince. The HEAT shot 54.9 percent (28-51) from the floor and 59.6 percent (28-47) from the foul line, compared to Detroit's 39 percent (30-77) from the field and 54.5 percent (12-22) from the charity stripe.
Game 5-May 31 (Detroit 91, Miami 78): Tayshaun Prince scored a game- and postseason career-high 29 points as the Pistons staved off elimination with a 91-78 victory over the HEAT in front of a sellout crowd of 22,076 at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Chauncey Billups (17 points and a game-high 10 assists) and Richard Hamilton (16 points and a team-high 10 rebounds) each recorded a double-double for Detroit, which also received 12 points and six rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench from Antonio McDyess. Billups hit all 11 of his free throw attempts for the Pistons who converted 88.5 percent (23-26) of their attempts from the charity stripe as compared to the HEAT who shot just 30 percent (6-20) from the line. After Shaquille O'Neal's hook shot pulled the HEAT to within four, at 82-78 with 3:30 remaining, the Pistons scored the final nine points in the contest, all from the line. Dwyane Wade once again led the HEAT in scoring with 23 points while O'Neal added 19. Udonis Haslem (team-high 10 rebounds) and Antoine Walker each chipped in 10 points for the HEAT.
Game 6-June 2 (Miami 95, Detroit 78): Shaquille O'Neal and Jason Williams combined to score 49 points on 84.6 percent shooting (22-26) from the floor and Dwyane Wade, who was hospitalized earlier in the day with flu-like symptoms, recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 assists as the HEAT defeated the Pistons, 95-78, before a sellout crowd of 20,258 at the AmericanAirlines Arena to earn their first Eastern Conference championship and a trip to the NBA Finals. O'Neal finished with a team-high 28 points and grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds and Williams hit his first 10 field goal attempts and finished with 21 points and six assists as the HEAT ended Detroit's two-year reign as Eastern Conference champions. Miami also received 11 points from Antoine Walker and 11 rebounds from James Posey. Richard Hamilton led the Pistons with a game-high 33 points and Miami limited Detroit's other four starters (Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace and Chauncey Billups) to 36 points on 30 percent shooting (12-40) from the floor. Prince and Rasheed Wallace were the only other Pistons to score in double figures as each tallied 10 points. Miami shot 55.7 percent (39-70) from the field while holding Detroit to 33.3 percent (27-81) shooting. The HEAT set the tone early connecting on 68.8 percent (11-16) of its field goal attempts in the opening quarter while limiting Detroit to 35 percent (7-20) shooting. Miami took the lead for good when Udonis Haslem nailed a jumper with 7:02 left in the quarter. The lead got as high as 13 points in the opening half. Detroit got within eight points less than a minute into the third quarter but the HEAT eventually stretched the lead to 20 points with 30 seconds remaining in the quarter and cruised to victory in the final 12 minutes, never leading by fewer than 13 points.
NBA FINALS (MIAMI-4, DALLAS-2)
Game 1-June 8 (Dallas 90, Miami 80): Jason Terry had 12 of his game-high 32 points in the fourth quarter as the Mavericks opened the NBA Finals with a 90-80 victory over the HEAT before a sellout crowd of 20,475 at the American Airlines Center. Terry scored eight straight points, culminated by three-point field goals on consecutive possessions, as Dallas went on an 8-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to extend its two-point lead to 10. Dirk Nowitzki (16 points and 10 rebounds) and Josh Howard (10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds) each recorded a double-double for the Mavs despite combining to shoot just 25 percent (7-28) from the floor. The Dallas bench outscored the Miami bench, 24-2, led by 13 points from Jerry Stackhouse. Dwyane Wade, who helped the HEAT get out to an 11-point lead in the first half with 13 points in the opening quarter, finished with team highs in points (28), assists (6) and steals (game-high 4) and also grabbed six rebounds. Shaquille O'Neal and Antoine Walker each scored 17 points for Miami and Jason Williams added 12. Williams scored with 3:59 remaining in the second quarter to give the HEAT a 44-36 lead, but the Mavericks responded by scoring the final 10 points of the opening half and trailed for a total of 14 seconds the rest of the way. The HEAT which shot just 36.8 percent (7-19) from the foul line entered the final quarter down by two points before being outscored 20-12 in the final 12 minutes.
Game 2-June 11 (Dallas 99, Miami 85): Five Mavericks scored in double figures, and for the second consecutive contest Dallas swung the momentum of the game with a run at the end of the first half, en route to a 99-85 victory over the HEAT before a sellout crowd of 20,459 at the American Airlines Center. With Miami enjoying its largest lead of the contest (28-23), the Mavs closed out the first half on a 27-6 run, culminated by back-to-back three-point field goals from Jerry Stackhouse, one of which he converted into a four-point play. Things didn't get much better for the HEAT in the third quarter as they were outscored 32-24, including a four-point play by Josh Howard. The four-point plays by Stackhouse and Howard were the seventh and eighth in NBA Finals history and marked the first time a team recorded two in an NBA Finals game. Miami, which trailed by as much as 27 points in the third quarter, twice cut the deficit to 12 in the fourth quarter but could get no closer. Dirk Nowitzki recorded game-highs in both points (26) and rebounds (16) to lead the Mavs. Dallas also received 19 points from Stackhouse, 16 points and a game-high nine assists from Jason Terry, 15 points from Howard and 11 points from Devin Harris. Erick Dampier grabbed a postseason career-high 13 rebounds for Dallas. Dwyane Wade led Miami with team highs in both points (23) and rebounds (8). Antoine Walker scored 20 points for the HEAT while Jason Williams and Alonzo Mourning each added 11.
Game 3-June 13 (Miami 98, Dallas 96): In what proved to be the turning point of the series, Miami rebounded from a 13-point fourth quarter deficit over the final 6:15 to record a 98-96 victory over the Mavs in front of a sellout crowd of 20,145 at the AmericanAirlines Arena. The 13-point deficit marked the largest fourth quarter deficit overcome in HEAT postseason history. Gary Payton's 21-foot jumper with 9.3 seconds left, his only field goal attempt of the night, snapped a 95-95 tie and put Miami ahead to stay. After Dirk Nowitzki missed the second of two free throw attempts with 3.4 seconds remaining and Dwyane Wade missed the second of his two attempts with 1.4 seconds left, Dallas had one final chance to tie or win the game, but Wade stole Nowitzki's inbounds pass with three-tenths of a second remaining to seal Miami's first NBA Finals victory. Wade scored 15 of his game-high 42 points in the fourth quarter. The 42 points matched his postseason franchise-record. Wade also grabbed a game- and postseason career-high 13 rebounds. Shaquille O'Neal recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds and also added a team-high five assists for Miami while Antoine Walker and Jason Williams each contributed 12 points. Nowitzki finished with 30 points to lead the Mavs who also received 21 points from Josh Howard, 16 points from Jason Terry and 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds off the bench from Erick Dampier.
Game 4-June 15 (Miami 98, Dallas 74): Dwyane Wade scored 36 points and Shaquille O'Neal (17 points and a game-high 13 rebounds) and James Posey (15 points and 10 rebounds) each recorded a double-double as the HEAT notched a 98-74 victory over the Mavericks before a sellout crowd of 20,145 at the AmericanAirlines Arena. The 24-point victory was Miami's largest during the 2006 postseason and the third largest in a HEAT postseason contest. The 74 points were the fewest allowed by Miami in a 2006 playoff game and the seven points they held the Mavericks to in the fourth quarter set both an NBA Finals record for fewest points in any quarter and a HEAT postseason record for fewest points allowed in a quarter. Miami led by 10 at the half and pushed the lead to 17 points midway through the third quarter when Jerry Stackhouse committed a flagrant foul on O'Neal during a breakaway with 6:29 left in the quarter. The flagrant foul would result in Stackhouse being suspended by the NBA for Game 5. After the resulting free throws, Miami's lead was 20. Dallas managed to cut the lead back to 10 (80-70) after a three-point play by Devin Harris with 10:35 left in the fourth quarter, but the HEAT outscored the Mavs, 18-4, the rest of the way to even the series at 2-2. Jason Terry led Dallas with 17 points, Dirk Nowitzki and Stackhouse each added 16 and Harris finished with 11. The HEAT shot 51.5 percent (34-66) from the floor compared to just 31.6 percent (25-79) for Dallas and also outrebounded the Mavs by a 48-36 margin. The game was the 100th postseason contest in HEAT history.
Game 5-June 18 (Miami 101, Dallas 100-OT): Dwyane Wade, scored a HEAT postseason record 43 points, including a pair of free throws with 1.9 seconds left in overtime to propel the HEAT to a 101-100 overtime win over the Mavericks before a sellout crowd of 20,145 at the AmericanAirlines Arena. The victory was Miami's postseason record eighth straight at home and gave the HEAT a 10-1 record at home during the 2006 postseason. After amassing a three-point lead at the conclusion of one quarter of play the HEAT fell behind by 11 points in the second quarter and trailed by eight at intermission. The Dallas lead was still eight points with 1:27 left in the third quarter before the HEAT scored the final seven points of the quarter to pull within one entering the fourth quarter. After scoring the first two points of the fourth quarter and grabbing its first lead since 5:01 remained in the second quarter, Miami fell behind by five halfway through the quarter to set up Wade's heroics. Wade scored 17 of the HEAT's 23 fourth quarter points, including Miami's final 11 points in regulation. Wade's eight-foot bank shot with 2.8 seconds remaining in regulation tied the game at 93 and forced overtime. The overtime session featured three ties and five lead changes. Gary Payton's driving lay-up right before the shot clock was about to expire with 29.8 seconds left staked the HEAT to a one-point lead. Dirk Nowitzki answered with a fadeway 19-foot jumper with 9.1 seconds left to put Dallas back up by one. Nowitzki then fouled Wade from behind in the act of shooting with 1.9 seconds left. Wade hit both shots and when Devin Harris missed a halfcourt shot at the buzzer the HEAT had a 3-2 series lead. Wade set NBA Finals and HEAT postseason records for both free throws made (21) and free throws attempted (25) in the contest. Wade also tied the HEAT postseason record for points in a second half with 26. Shaquille O'Neal complemented Wade's performace with an 18-point, 12-rebound double-double and James Posey contributed 10 points and six rebounds as the Miami bench outscored their Dallas counterparts, 23-12. Jason Terry topped the Mavs with 35 points. Josh Howard, who missed a pair of free throws with 54 seconds left in overtime that would have given Dallas a three-point lead, recorded a double-double with 25 points and a team-high 10 rebounds and Nowitzki finished with 20 points and eight rebounds. The victory gave the HEAT a 3-0 all-time record in postseason overtime contests.
Game 6-June 20 (Miami 95, Dallas 92): Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem and Antoine Walker each recorded a double-double as the HEAT registered a 95-92 victory over the Mavericks before a sellout crowd of 20,522 at the American Airlines Center to earn its first NBA championship. Miami overcame a 14-point deficit to record the largest come-from-behind win in its postseason history. The Game 6 triumph marked the third game in the Finals in which the HEAT overcame a double-digit deficit to win. Wade who had a game-high 36 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and a team-high four steals was named the NBA Finals MVP. Haslem, whose 15-foot jumper snapped a 79-79 tie with 7:06 left and put Miami ahead to stay and then gave the HEAT a three-point lead after grabbing an offensive rebound and scoring on a put-back with 1:21 remaining, finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Walker finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds while Shaquille O'Neal added nine points and a team-high 12 rebounds. This marked the first time in the HEAT's postseason history it had four players all grab double-figure rebounds in the same game. The HEAT also received key contributions off its bench as Alonzo Mourning totaled eight points, six rebounds and a game-altering five blocks in just 14 minutes of play and James Posey added six points, including a key three-point field goal with 3:43 left that put Miami up by six, and five rebounds in 25 minutes. The Mavericks started strong and enjoyed a 26-12 lead with 2:30 left in the opening quarter. Miami didn't take its first lead until Posey hit a pair of free throws with 46 seconds left in the second quarter. From that point the HEAT never trailed, although the game was tied three times in the second half. Dirk Nowitzki (29 points and a game-high 15 rebounds) and Josh Howard (14 points and 12 rebounds) each recorded a double-double for Dallas which also received 16 points from Jason Terry and 12 each from Marquis Daniels and Jerry Stackhouse. Miami became just the third team in NBA Finals history to drop the first two games of the series and come back to win the championship. The victory earned HEAT Head Coach Pat Riley his fifth NBA championship as a head coach and seventh overall.