Dirk Nowitzki scored 29 points to help Dallas beat Miami, 112-103, and take a 3-2 series lead in the process.
"Yeah, I mean that was a big win for us, obviously," Nowitzki said. "We didn’t want to go to Miami and give them basically two shots to close us out … And now we have to go down there and basically approach Sunday’s game as Game 7."
Jason Terry made a huge three-pointer with 33.3 seconds left to give the Mavericks a chance to win the title on Sunday in Miami. Terry ended with 21 points and six assists off the bench.
"We’ve got to continue to work the process … We understand where we’re at, but we also understand what got us here, so we have to stay in the moment," Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said.
Heat guard Dwyane Wade suffered a left hip contusion late in the first quarter, but ended with a team-leading 23 points. Wade came in and out of the game following a collision with Dallas forward Brian Cardinal, who was called for blocking on what was a very physical play.
"We have an extra day [of rest] and we’ll see if that’s enough," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said of Wade’s status for Sunday.
The Mavs pulled away late to prevent another close finish. The previous three games were decided by three points or fewer.
The series is a rematch of the 2006 NBA Finals, when the Heat beat the Mavericks in six games after falling behind 0-2 in the series. It was the only other time either franchise made the Finals.
Dallas took a lead into the fourth quarter for the first time in the series. An 84-79 margin to start the final period quickly grew to 88-81, but Miami turned the tables moments later.
Trailing by seven, 90-83, the Heat ripped off five straight points to make it a two-point contest.
It remained a tight contest, and Nowitzki made two free throws with under seven minutes to go for a 95-90 edge.
Miami used some good passing and nice defense on an ensuing 9-0 run. Udonis Haslem made a layup off an assist from James to spark the flurry. Wade then stole the ball from Shawn Marion and made a layup at the other end. Haslem’s slam and Wade’s three-pointer from the top of the arc gave the Heat a 99-95 lead with over 4 1/2 minutes to play.
But Terry and Nowitzki led the Mavericks on a 17-4, game-ending run. Nowitzki, playing in his 123rd playoff game, made two free throws to spark the burst.
"We put ourselves in a position to win," James said. "They made a few more plays than we did."
After Bosh went 1-of-2 from the line, Terry made a three-pointer to make it a 100-100 game. James then missed a jumper, which led to Nowitzki getting past Bosh and putting home a slam.
James was called for a charge at the other end of the floor. Over a minute later, Kidd made a three-pointer to give Dallas a 105-100 margin with 1:26 left.
Bosh made 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to make it a four-point game, but Terry sent the crowd into a frenzy with a three-pointer.
James kept Miami alive with a layup, but Dallas went 4-of-4 from the foul line down the stretch to seal the victory. Terry tallied eight points during the late surge.
"We were a little bit sloppy against their pressure, and that’s normally what we do to other teams. We definitely have to handle the ball better," Spoelstra said.
The Mavericks created some distance early on with a 9-2 flurry. Kidd sparked the spurt with a three-pointer, and after a slam by James, Nowitzki made a pair of jumpers. Marion capped the burst with a hook shot to give Dallas a 13-6 edge with 7:21 left in the first quarter.
The margin stayed around six points until Miami put together a period-ending 10-3 run. Mario Chalmers, filling in for an injured Wade, bookended the spurt with a pair of three-pointers to give the Heat a 31-30 lead after 12 minutes of action. Chalmers’ second trey came from half court at the buzzer.
Wade came back with 8:52 left in the second quarter, and helped Miami take a 50-44 lead with 5:45 remaining.
Just moments later, the Mavs responded with six straight points to make it a 52-52 game. A close first half came to a close on a Nowitzki jumper, which gave Dallas a 60-57 lead.
The second half started with Wade in the locker room, but Mike Miller got the frame started with a three-pointer to make it 60-60.
The game was tied at 65 after James made a jumper with nine minutes left. But a Nowitzki jumper and trey gave the Mavericks a five-point margin.
A Kidd three-pointer and Chandler slam around a Bosh turnover put Dallas ahead by nine, 80-71, with 3:46 to go.
The Mavs held onto their lead and took an 84-79 margin into the fourth.
Dallas Mavericks backup center Brendan Haywood missed the game due to a hip injury that’s bothered him much of the series…Each team made 21 free throws…Haslem had 10 points off the bench for Miami, which went 8-of-20 from beyond the arc…Wade also had eight assists. He came back into the game for a second time with about 4 1/2 minutes to play in the third quarter…The Heat outrebounded the Mavs by a 36-26 margin.