Despite sinus infection, Nowitzki, Mavs tie finals with Heat

The AP reports:

Dirk Nowitzki struggled through the first three quarters, then willed himself and his team at the end. He scored 10 of his 21 points and grabbed five of his 11 rebounds in the final period, lifting the Dallas Mavericks to an 86-83 victory over the Miami Heat on Tuesday night that ties the NBA finals at two games…

Now there’s this effort, when Nowitzki went from making his first three shots to missing 10 of his next 11. He also missed a free throw for the first time since Game 4 of the conference finals, ending a streak of 39 straight…

Then there was the LeBron James disappearing act.

“King James” made only 3 of 11 shots—a tip-in during the first quarter, then a 15-foot jumper and a breakaway dunk in the third quarter. Not only did he fail to score in the fourth, he took only one shot while playing all 12 minutes.

He finished with eight points, ending a double-figure scoring streak of 433 consecutive games, regular season and postseason. It was his fewest points ever in the playoffs.

It can’t be dismissed as one of those things because of how badly the Heat needed him when things were falling apart. Miami scored a series-low 14 points in the fourth quarter, committing six turnovers and making only 5 of 15 shots. They actually made their first two, so they missed 10 of their final 13…

Carlisle shook up Dallas’ lineup, starting J.J. Barea instead of DeShawn Stevenson, and made Brian Cardinal the primary backup for Nowitzki, instead of Peja Stojakovic. His changes worked out quite nicely.

Stevenson scored 11 points, his first time in double digits since Feb. 2. Cardinal drew a charge on James early and provided seven solid minutes, giving Nowitzki much-needed rest.

Terry scored 17, Shawn Marion 16 and Chandler had 13 points and 16 rebounds. Chandler also played a team-high 43 minutes because his backup, Brendan Haywood, lasted only 3:05 while trying to play through a hip injury that kept him out of Game 3.

Reuters reports:

James, averaging 17 points in the series while taking a backseat to Dwyane Wade on offense, hit just three-of-11 shots against the Mavericks on Tuesday.

“If I had had eight points and we won the game, I could be satisfied,” he said. “The fact I could have did more offensively to help our team, that’s the anger part about it.

“I’ll come back in Game Five and do things that needs to be done to help our team win.”

Miami forward Chris Bosh said James “struggled, point blank, period” and wants to see a return to his “laser-light focus.”

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