The Dallas Mavericks were in a familiar place midway through the fourth quarter, trailing the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. It's been a common theme in these playoffs and, especially, in the NBA Finals as the Mavericks have had to scratch and claw their way out of holes -- sometimes successful, others not so much. In Game 2, it was a rally that reminded fans of the same feat against the Oklahoma City Thunder as Dallas exploded down the stretch to leave the Heat stunned in Miami. And in Game 4, the Mavericks did it again, rallying from down eight with 10 minutes to go to take the lead and setup a wild finish.
Three games in a row, it's came down to the end, and after the Mavericks inched away for a four-point lead with two minutes to go. But Miami battled back, closing the deficit to one after Dwyane Wade converted on just one of two free throws.
And, again, Dallas turned to Dirk Nowitzki in the high post, needing a bucket to force Miami to make a three to tie. Nowitzki went right this time, out-muscling Udonis Haslem to the bucket and lay-in to give Dallas the three-point lead with just 18 seconds to go. Nowitzki played with a 102 degree fever and it showed as the Dallas superstar struggled with his stamina and looked a bit off throughout.
Miami went with the smart play as Dwyane Wade crossed Tyson Chandler up and finished with a dunk for the quick two, cutting the Dallas lead back to one. Jason Terry converted both of his free throws after running just over a second off the clock, however, and Miami was right back where it started, trailing by three with 6.7 seconds to go.
After Dwyane Wade nearly lost the ball into the backcourt, Mike Miller came up with the loose ball on the scramble, but had to force up a desperation three, finding nothing but air as time ran out. With the miss, Dallas had done it again, coming back to keep their hopes alive with an 86-83 win.
The Heat and Mavericks get back at it again on Thursday in Game 5 of the NBA Finals with the series even at two games apiece.