The Miami Heat defeated the Dallas Mavericks 92-84 in the opening game of the National Basketball Association Finals.
LeBron James had 24 points and nine rebounds, Dwyane Wade added 22 points and 10 rebounds and Chris Bosh contributed 19 points and nine rebounds for the Heat last night at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami.
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“We had them where we wanted them,” Wade said in a televised courtside interview. “Offensively we just executed and guys made plays.”
The Heat beat the Mavericks in six games in each team’s only previous visit to the finals in 2006. Since then, Miami had gone 0-10 against Dallas before last night’s win.
Dallas fell six points behind after the opening six minutes before taking a 17-16 lead at the end of the first quarter. After one change of lead in the opening period, there were eight in the second quarter, with Dallas heading into the halftime break with a 44-43 advantage.
The Mavericks led 51-43 in the third quarter before Miami rallied, with James making his fourth straight 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 65-61 for the Heat.
Dallas never got the deficit down to less than two points and Miami led by 12 points with 40 seconds to play as James got his final points of the game.
Dirk Nowitzki, who had 27 points for the Mavericks, said he tore a tendon in the middle finger of his left, non-shooting hand and wore a splint at a postgame news conference. Shawn Marion added 16 points and 10 rebounds for Dallas.
The teams return to the same venue tomorrow for the second game before the best-of-seven series moves to Dallas for as many as three games.
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