The Game: 2011 Finals, Game 2
The Series Situation: Miami Heat lead Dallas Mavericks, 1-0
The Play: Dwyane Wade lit a fire in the Mavs, posing in front of the Dallas bench for a beat or two too long after hitting a corner three that put the Heat up by 15 with 7:14 to go in the fourth quarter of Game 2. The Mavs responded with a 22-5 run to close the game, with Dirk Nowitzki capping the two-point win with a game-winning layup that evened the series up. Dallas went on to win the series in six games.
The Significance: The first year of Miami’s superteam ended in defeat, and arrogance just may have played a part. Fifteen of the last 16 teams to go up 2-0 in The Finals have gone on to win the series. The Heat just needed another stop or two to take that 2-0 lead, but Wade added a little fuel to the fire in Nowitzki and the Mavs, who got their first and only championship in a year when most picked them to lose in the Western Conference semifinals. Few NBA champions come out of nowhere, but the Mavs were the closest thing in recent history to being a complete surprise.
Miami did learn from its mistakes in the series, winning the next two titles. But the Heat had to go through some pain before they found glory in 2012 and ’13.
— John Schuhmann
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