Really Big D: Mavericks top Heat for NBA titleBy TIM REYNOLDS, AP Sports Writer
MIAMI (AP)—For Dirk Nowitzki, the resume is complete. He’s an NBA champion.
For LeBron James, the agonizing wait continues for at least one more year.
Avenging what happened five years ago in perfect turnabout style, the Dallas Mavericks won their first NBA title by winning Game 6 of these finals in Miami 105-95 on Sunday night—celebrating on the Heat’s home floor, just as Wade and his team did to them in the 2006 title series.
Jason Terry scored 27 points, Nowitzki added 21 and the Mavericks topped the Miami Heat 105-95 in Game 6 of the NBA finals on Sunday night. The Mavericks won four of the series’ last five games, a turnabout that could not have been sweeter after seeing the Heat celebrate their first title in Dallas after Game 6 of the 2006 finals.
“Tonight,” Terry said, “we got vindication.”
James did not. Not even close, and a year unlike any other ended they way they all have so far—with him still waiting for an NBA title.
He scored 21 points for Miami, shook a few hands afterward, and departed before most of the Mavs tugged on their championship hats and T-shirts. Chris Bosh had 19, Mario Chalmers 18 and Dwyane Wade 17 for the Heat.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle joined a highly elite group, those with NBA titles as both a player and a head coach. Only 10 other men are on that list, including the presumably retired-for-good Phil Jackson, one of Carlisle’s mentors in K.C. Jones, and Heat President Pat Riley—who led Miami past Dallas in 2006, and was the mastermind of what the Heat did last summer by getting James, Wade and Bosh on the same team with an eye on becoming a dynasty.
It might still happen, of course.
But even after 72 wins this season, including playoffs, the Heat lost the last game. And that means this year was a disappointment—except to just about everyone else in the NBA, or so it would seem.
Hating the Heat became the NBA’s craze this season, and the team knew it had no shortage of critics, everyone from Cleveland (where “Cavs for Mavs” shirts were popular during these finals) to Chicago (the city James and Wade both flirted with last summer) and just about every place in between lining up to take shots at Miami.
Given their newfound popularity, meet the new America’s Team.
Sorry, Cowboys—your long-held moniker might have to be ceded to your city’s NBA club. When it was over, Mavs owner Mark Cuban ran onto the court to hug Carlisle, then punched the air and whooped.
Dallas took control in the second half after some wild back-and-forths in the opening two quarters. Miami took its last lead of the game—the season— just 64 seconds into the second half, lost it 16 seconds later and chased the Mavericks the rest of the way.
They never caught them.
Jason Kidd, at 38 years old, got his first championship. Nowitzki got his at 32, Terry at 33. They were featured on the video screen in their building in Dallas during this series on what seemed like a constant loop, each posing with the NBA trophy and looking longingly at it, standing mere inches from it, as if to say “so close, yet so far away.”
Nowitzki sealed it with 2:27 left, hitting a jumper near the Miami bench to put Dallas up 99-89, and some fans actually began leaving. Nowitzki walked to the Mavs’ side slowly, right fist clenched and aloft.
He knew it. Everyone did. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra implored his team to foul in the final minute, and even then, they couldn’t catch the Mavericks.
“All those unique individual stories is what propelled us to this victory,” Terry said.