With 6:20 remaining in Game 2 of the NBA Finals in Miami, the Dallas Mavericks trailed the Miami Heat 88-73 and looked certain to face a 2-0 gap heading into their three home games in the series. The Heat just looked like a quicker, faster and more engaged team, particularly the on-fire Dwyane Wade, who finished with 36 points on 13-of-20 shooting.
What followed will go down as one of the greatest comebacks in league history. Over the rest of the game, the Mavs went on a 22-5 run to come out ahead 95-93 and tie the series at one win apiece. Dirk Nowitzki was especially stellar down the stretch, scoring his team's last nine points and winning the game on the driving lefty layup above. (Yes, he also has a torn tendon on his left middle finger.) Wade attempted a 35-foot desperation shot at the buzzer, but the ball drew only iron.
This shot will mean a lot not just for the Mavs in this series, but also for Dirk's past reputation as a choke artist in big games. That tag has always been unfair, but it looks downright silly in the wake of his performance in Game 2. Even if the Mavs don't go on to win this series, he'll always have this absurdly clutch shot.
This comeback was even more ridiculous for the fact that the Mavericks pulled off a similarly crazy 28-6 run over the final five minutes of regulation and overtime to top the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. Plus, the Heat have been great themselves to close out games in this postseason. Comebacks like this one, under these circumstances, just aren't supposed to happen.
Somehow, the final seconds of this game were even crazier than this description indicates. Watch the two 3-pointers that preceded Dirk's winner after the jump.
With a tie game and 26 remaining, Nowitzki hit this three to give the Mavs a 93-90 lead. It was the kind of shot Dirk has made countless times in his career, and it was only a surprise if you aren't familiar with his numbers in close late-game situations.
This response from Mario Chalmers was just a tad more shocking. Chalmers is famous for his game-winner against Memphis in the 2008 NCAA Championship game, but he hasn't exactly been a big shot-maker for the Heat this season. It's also bizarre how he managed to get open here -- he simply ran to the corner away from Dallas's Jason Terry, who focused on Wade instead of his assigned man.
It's tough to explain exactly how this comeback happened, but we'll have more on BDL before Sunday's Game 3 in Dallas. One thing's for sure: These teams will have a hard time topping the craziness of this finish over the rest of this series.
(Original videos via Ben Golliver)
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- Dirk Nowitzki
- Dallas Mavericks
- Dwyane Wade
- Miami Heat