DALLAS, Texas – Dirk Nowitzki called out his Dallas teammates before game four and Jason Terry responded with his best game of the 2011 NBA finals.
Dallas outscored the Heat 21-14 in the fourth quarter and no one stepped up bigger for the Mavericks off the bench on Tuesday than guard Terry.
"He took it upon himself to really drive and be in attack mode," Nowitzki said of Terry during Wednesday's practice at the American Airlines Center. "That's what we need out of him. He's one of our closers."
Terry scored 17 points as Dallas held on for an 86-83 win over the Miami Heat to even the NBA finals at 2-2.
Nowitzki shook off a fever to hit the game-winner on a driving layup with 14.4 seconds remaining. He scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter for Dallas who ensured a trip back to Miami for at least game six.
Nowitzki, who had a fever of 38.5 Celsius (101F) on Tuesday, did some light practise with the Mavericks Wednesday and is expected to be ready to play Thursday.
"I drank some fluids, drank some tea and I just feel a lot better today," Nowitzki. "I still got a little high temperature, but the fever is basically gone."
The Mavericks will try to take a 3-2 series lead when they host Miami in gave five on Thursday.
Neither team has won back-to-back games in the best-of-seven series.
"From here on, it's jump ball," said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra.
Terry had eight points in the fourth after being held scoreless in the final quarter in both of Dallas' losses in the series.
He missed all seven of his fourth quarter shots in those games, including a three pointer in game three that would have vaulted the Mavericks into the lead in the last minute of a nail-biting defeat.
In the first three games the Heat had kept Terry under wraps with strong defence, especially from Miami forward LeBron James.
Terry, who goes by the nickname Jet, boasted heading into game four that James wouldn't be able to contain him.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said Terry likes to use his trash talking to motivate himself.
"In nine years of doing this job and 240-something playoff games I've seen a lot of stuff," Carlisle said.
"I've seen Reggie Miller put a Superman shirt on during pre-game shoot-around. I've seen Bird do some things that you would shake your head at.
"Jet says what he says, and he has his reasons. I don't necessarily need to know what they are. He knows that once he says some things, he's going to have to back it up."
Nowitzki admitted he cringed when he first heard Terry throwing down the guantlet to James.
"You know Jet," Nowitzki said. "It was earlier in the playoffs that he said something, and I told him I was going to put him on a no-interview policy. But he didn't follow that either. He believes in himself and that's what I like about him."
The Mavericks are hoping to have Brendan Haywood back in the regular rotation for game five. Haywood was leading the Mavericks in blocked shots during the playoffs before he injured his right hip.
Haywood played just three minutes of game four and went scoreless.
"With each day hopefully Mother Nature can help out," Carlisle said. "And we'll see if we can have him ready for tomorrow."