Following his heroic effort in Game 4, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade thought it would be a good idea to poke fun at the 7-foot German superstar. Dirk Nowitzki, despite having a fever of up to 102 degrees, willed his team to victory and evened the series.
Then this happened.
Playful banter? Doing it on purpose to see what the media would do? Perhaps. Ultimately it added fuel to the fire, and made Game 5 that much more interesting. Series tied at two a piece. The Mavericks had to make sure they didn’t go back to Miami needing games six and seven.
“We didn’t want to go to Miami and give them basically two shots to close us out. – Dirk Nowitzki
The Mavericks stormed out of the gate early, and continued to find ways to frustrate James and the Miami Heat offense. When Wade went down after a collision with Brian Cardinal, James had to carry even more of the load, and he appeared up to the task. The Heat won the first twelve minutes of the game, and once the second quarter was underway, Wade made his return. It was the Mavericks that would respond on a big run of their own, and would go into the break up 60-57.
It was clear throughout the game that Nowitzki was feeling much better than how he felt in Game 4. He played all but 8 minutes of the game, and scored 29 points on 9-18 shooting from the field. Jason “The Jet” Terry was also crucial yet again in this series, coming off the bench to score 21 points on 8-12 shooting. Despite the Mavericks leading going into the fourth quarter, this was a Miami Heat team that was made up of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. They weren’t going to lay down and go quietly into the night. The Heat, down seven at one point, stormed back to take a 99-95 lead.
The Mavericks would then outscore the Heat 17-4 over the last 4:37, behind a couple of Jason Terry three-pointers, and a big time long ball from Jason Kidd.
“We are getting the same looks we knew we would get. After Games 1 and 2, you watch it on film, you see it and then you realize you’re going to have the opportunities. I said to myself, I said to my teammates, we’re not going to continue to miss those open shots that we’re getting.” – Jason Terry
The “one and done boys” were now ONE game away from their first NBA championship. The 7-foot “uncoordinated” and “soft” Nowitzki was ONE game way from realizing his dream. MFFL’s everywhere were salivating at the idea of not only their first NBA title, but the idea of taking down the “Big 3” in Miami. We all knew that LeBron would one day win his 1st title, but not against our Mavs. This was a gritty Mavericks team who seemed hell bent on proving everyone wrong.
“Now we have to go down there and basically approach Sunday’s game as Game 7.” – Dirk Nowitzki
Then Game 6 happened….
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