Nowitzki leads Dallas to NBA title
THE Dallas Mavericks claimed their long-awaited first NBA title by winning Game Six of the finals in Miami 105-95 last night, to avenge the agony of five years ago.
The Mavericks won four of the series' last five games this time, a turnaround that could not have been sweeter after the Heat won the 2006 title in Game Six at Dallas.
“I really still can't believe it,” said German star Nowitzki, who had 21 points and was voted Most Valuable Player of the finals series.
“Tonight,” Jason Terry said after leading Dallas with 27 points, “we got vindication.”
Miami’s LeBron James did not. Not even close, and a year unlike any other ended the way they all have so far – with him still waiting for an NBA title.
He scored 21 points, shook a few hands afterward, and departed before most of the Mavs tugged on their championship hats and T-shirts.
“We worked so hard and so long for it,” Nowitzki said. “The team has had an unbelievable ride.”
The Mavericks took control in the second half of the game after some wild momentum shifts in the opening two quarters. Miami took its last lead of the game just 64 seconds into the second half, lost it 16 seconds later and chased the Mavericks the rest of the way. Nowitzki sealed the win with 2:27 left, hitting a jumper near the Miami bench to put Dallas up 99-89. He then walked to the Mavs' side slowly, right fist clenched above his head.
“This is a true team,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said.
“This is an old bunch. We don't run fast or jump high.
“These guys had each other's backs. We played the right way. We trusted the pass. This is a phenomenal thing for the city of Dallas.”
Carlisle joined a highly elite group with the win – those with NBA titles as both a player and a head coach.
He was a part of the Boston Celtics team that won the championship over the Houston Rockets in 1986.