Nowitzki, Mavs finish off the Heat

Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki lifts the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy with his teammates after they beat the Miami Heat in Game 6 to win the NBA Finals basketball series in Miami, June 12, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

With LeBron’s legacy (not to mention, the NBA title) on the line, the Mavs went into Miami and beat the Heat on their home floor. Dirk Nowitzki struggled to 1-of-12 shooting in the first half, but rebounded with 18 points in the second half, including 10 points in the final 7:22 to help close out the series.

Nowitzki was unbelievable in the Playoffs, averaging (a 36-minute adjusted) 52.6 points per game in the clutch (under five minutes to play with the score within five points), and deservedly won the Finals MVP. Jason Terry kept the Mavs in the game in the first half, and scored 27 points on the night.

As for the Heat, LeBron James finished 9-of-15 for 21 points, six assists and four rebounds, but he turned the ball over six times and wasn’t able to take the game over when it mattered most. Dwyane Wade went 6-for-16 from the field but turned the ball over five times. It should be noted that Chris Bosh (7-of-9 from the field, 19 points) played the best of Miami’s “Big Three.”

LeBron and the Heat better brace for even more criticism after the loss. Ever since “The Decision” and the trio’s over-the-top celebration last summer, throughout a season of ups and downs, the team became one of the most scrutinized in league history. Questions remain about LeBron’s play in the clutch and whether or not the “Big Three” actually fit together.

No matter how many championships the trio goes on to win, this loss to the Mavs will tarnish the legacies of LeBron, Wade and Bosh – they had control of the series after Game 3 and let it slip away.

Kudos to Mark Cuban, Rick Carlisle, Dirk Nowitzki and the entire Dallas Mavericks franchise. I picked the Mavs to lose to the Blazers in the first round, but have been impressed by the team’s grit and resiliency throughout these Playoffs. I’ll gladly eat some crow after this performance.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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