Mavericks: Aim is won and done

The NBA finals leaders are a game away from erasing the pain of 2006 series but are not celebrating unless they win Game 6.

Dirk Nowitzki waited five years for that elusive third victory over the Miami Heat, yet there was only a short celebration when it finally came.

He briefly thrust both arms in the air, a sea of blue screaming around him, but then quickly walked off the floor.

The Dallas Mavericks have a 3-2 lead in the NBA finals, but for Nowitzki, the real party cannot come until they get one more win.

Game 6 is tomorrow night in Miami.

"There's really nothing to celebrate," he said. "We're going in there swinging, like we did today, from the jump, and hopefully steal one."

And now it really is "now or never" for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Heat.

The Mavericks, who blew a 2-0 lead against the Heat in the 2006 finals, can wrap up their first championship tomorrow night after a 112-103 win on Thursday.

Jason Terry, the sharp-shooting Dallas guard who had a pair of three-pointers during Game 5's ending run to finish with 21 points, said he does not want the series to go to a Game 7. "We want to get this first one," he said.

Nowitzki, who scored 29, said he felt "great", having shaken the fever that rose to 101 °F (38.3 °C) in Game 4 and he was in inspirational form again as Dallas took the series lead.

The teams were tied 2-2 in their 2006 match-up, but that one was already in the midst of a massive swing - after losing the first two, Miami won the next four games behind Wade, the MVP of that series. This one has been developing into one of the closest finals the NBA has ever seen.

Games 2, 3 and 4 were decided by three points or fewer, and that had not happened in the championship round since 1948, according to Stats LLC, when the Baltimore Bullets and Philadelphia Warriors played Games 2-4 within a three-point margin during the Basketball Association of America finals, a year before that league merged with the National Basketball League to become the NBA.

The first four games of this series were determined by 15 total points, the fewest since a 12-point difference between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers in the 1969 finals.

Published: June 11, 2011 04:00 AM