Heat blow fourth quarter lead in Game 2

The fourth quarter has been the Heat’s quarter during the postseason. They’ve held opponents to 17.5 points in the fourth quarter with their stifling defense and transition buckets. The fourth quarter of Game 2  on Thursday started the same way that any of their fourth quarters had started. The Heat and the Mavericks ended the last 1.5 minutes of the third quarter trading buckets. The Heat lead 75-71 beginning the fourth quarter. After going 0-3 on their first three possessions, the Heat score in transition when Jason Terry gets stripped and Mario Chalmers passes ahead to Dwayne Wade for the dunk. The Mavericks turn it over again with a 24-shot clock violation. The Heat go on a 13-0 run ending with a Wade 3-pointer with 7:00 left to go up 88-73. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle calls a timeout

The Heat looked like they had taken control of this game, but suddenly the Heat go cold from the floor. Out of the timeout they miss three straight shots while Terry makes six straight points for the Mavericks to cut the lead to nine with 5:00 left. LeBron James finally ends the 8-0 run with two free throws. Jason Kidd drains a wide open 3-pointer and Terry hits a pull-up jumper to cut the lead to four points, 90-86 with 3:00 left. The Heat turn it over and Dirk Nowitzki, who had been quiet from the field, puts in a jumper to cu the lead to two. The Dallas defense completely shut down Wade and James, forcing them to shoot lower percentage shots from outside and not allowing them to dominate the paint as they’ve been doing throughout the postseason. James is forced to through up a three with the shot clock winding down, but Wade tips it out to Chris Bosh for a new 24-shot clock.  James misses another three as the shot clock winds down again, but Udonis Haslem grabs the offensive board again. The ball gets stripped and Haslem tries to recover but throws it away. Nowitzki, who was wearing a splint on his left middle finger after he tore a tendon in Game 1, didn’t show that the injury or the splint was bothering his shot. In transition, Nowitzki ties the game at 90 a piece with a left-handed lay-up. Wade tries to answer with another three, but misses. Nowitzki puts up a three pointer to take the lead. The Heat call a timeout to draw up a play. LeBron inbounds the ball in a play that was supposed to open up Wade, but Terry was cheating on defense. LeBron inbounds to a wide open Chalmers in the corner who puts up a three to tie the game at 93 each. With just over 0:24 left in the game, Nowitzki drove the ball, spun left and puts it in off the glass with his left hand. With only a few seconds left and no timeouts left, Wade dribbles the ball down the court and puts up a desperation three that misses long. The Mavericks came back from 15 down in the middle of the fourth quarter and go on a 20-5 run to win the game by two, 95-93.

It was a comeback that the Mavericks had made once before this postseason against Oklahoma City when they trailed late in the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals. The Mavericks made a 17-2 run with 4:43 left in the game to force overtime. Nowitzki shot 60 percent from the field and scored 40 points to win the game 112-105. A repeat of the same feat seemed impossible against the Heat who have been unstoppable in the fourth quarter. But the Mavs defense kept LeBron and Wade out of the paint and forced them to put up tough jump shots with the shot clock winding down. The Heat went completely cold from the field after scoring 10 straight points. They ended the game scoring just five points.

Game 3 will be Sunday, June 4, 2011 in Dallas.


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