x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Mavericks get things even again

Jason Terry and the Dallas Mavericks didn't like Dwyane Wade's show-boating and made the Miami star and the Heat pay for it with a roaring comeback to even the NBA Finals 1-1.

Dwyane Wade, behind, and his showboating was not unnoticed by Dallas's Jason Terry. Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images
Dwyane Wade, behind, and his showboating was not unnoticed by Dallas's Jason Terry. Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images

Jason Terry did not like Dwyane Wade strutting his stuff in front of the Dallas Mavericks bench, and followed him for a few steps toward half court letting him know it.

So what if the Miami Heat were up by 15 points with 7:14 left and had plenty to celebrate? Terry and the Mavericks were not about to go down that easily.

Terry fired back with the first six points in a 22-5 run that ended with the Mavericks pulling off one of the most stunning rallies in NBA Finals history, beating the Heat 95-93 on Thursday night and drawing even in the series.

Game 3 is tomorrow at Dallas.

With the game and possibly the finals slipping away, Dallas used the celebration by Wade to spark the latest and greatest of their rallies this post-season.

"We looked at each guy in the huddle, to a man, specifically Dirk [Nowitzki], and said, 'There's no way we're going out like that,'" Terry said.

"We continued to keep faith in ourselves, grinded it out and got it done."

Nowitzki finished it off by scoring the final nine points, with the game-winner coming on a lay-up using his injured left hand.

"You have to be a little lucky, but we kept on plugging," Nowitzki said. "We kept believing, kept playing off each other."

Without the spectacular finish, the story of the game for Dallas would have been squandering a nine-point lead with 3:22 left in the first half and LeBron James on the bench with three fouls. The Mavs repeatedly sent the Heat to the foul line, wound up tied at half time, then provided turnover after turnover to fuel a Miami rally early in the third quarter.

Dallas hung tough for a while, then found itself trailing 88-73 when Wade made a three-pointer from the corner in front of the Dallas bench. Fans anticipated a big basket and were already on their feet before he even got the ball. As they erupted in cheers, he stayed in the corner holding his follow-through pose a little longer than the Mavs thought he should have.

Some guys did not see it. Those that did made it clear that the play sparked them.

"We were definitely frustrated," Mavs centre Tyson Chandler said. "When you've got a guy celebrating in front of your bench, when you're down 15 with seven minutes to go, you're like, 'The game isn't over.' That's all we said on the bench. 'Listen, I don't care what they think, the game isn't over.'"

Rick Carlisle, the Dallas coach, helped turn anger into focus by reminding them of their comeback against Oklahoma City, when they overcame a 15-point deficit in just over five minutes.

"He said, 'Look at the clock, fellas, there's seven minutes left, so we've got some extra minutes to work our way back,'" Chandler said.

Terry had gone scoreless in the second half of Game 1, and was shooting a miserable four for 16 for the series. Being covered by James was part of his problem. Terry also was fighting a wrist injury sustained when James fouled him on a dunk attempt in Game 1.

Down the stretch, Terry made an adjustment suggested by Jason Kidd that helped free him up for some open space. He started the rally with a jumper, a lay-up and a pair of free throws, all coming in less than a minute. He hit another jumper with 3min 11secs left to leave Dallas down 90-86.

Terry finished with 16 points, five assists, two steals and a huge smile. It was especially sweet for him to beat the Heat, their fans and Wade, because he and Nowitzki are the only players left from the 2006 Mavericks team that lost the Finals by losing four straight to Miami. Their loss in the opener made it four straight play-off losses on this court.

Another would have made Miami 10-0 at home this post-season, tying a record set by Michael Jordan's Bulls in 1996. Now, there is no telling what this result might do.

"Each finals, there's going to be a turning point, a moment, so to speak," Terry said. "And tonight the moment was ours."