MIAMI (AP)—A playoff game couldn’t be more exciting than what the Miami Heat experienced Friday night.
“A dream shot,” Alston said. “It’s a design play, not necessarily for myself, but it’s dream shot.
“When I was on the bench, watching from the opening tip, I couldn’t believe the atmosphere. It was almost a packed house. It was something special to see.”
Dwyane Wade had 24 points for Miami, which also extended its home winning streak to eight games. Lamar Odom added 26 points and 18 rebounds, and Eddie Jones and Alston each scored 20 as the Heat remained sixth in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
“The atmosphere, the game itself … I don’t think a playoff game can get better than that,” Wade said. “It went down to the wire, the crowd was going crazy, and teams were playing their hearts out.”
Odom hit the first of two free throws after he was intentionally fouled to pull Miami to 118-116 with 4.1 seconds left. Odom missed the second free throw, and the ball was tipped out of bounds off Antoine Walker’s back with 2.5 seconds left. Alston caught the inbounds pass from Caron Butler and sank the winning 3-pointer from the left corner.
“He found a hole in our zone,” Mavericks coach Don Nelson said. “There must have been a breakdown at the end of the game. I had two rookies (Marquis Daniels and Josh Howard) in the game, but I’m not blaming the rookies. Somebody should of helped on Alston though.”
“I got screened and he was open for the shot,” Daniels said. “He made a big shot for them. He got some good open looks, and he made us pay for it.”
It was Alston’s fifth 3-pointer, his fourth in the final 17 minutes when he scored 15 of his 20 points.
Daniels scored a career-high 31 points for the Mavericks, who lost their third in a row. Dirk Nowitzki added 25 before fouling out with 1:53 left in the fourth quarter.
Antawn Jamison’s jumper with 1:32 left in overtime gave Dallas a 114-113 edge. Following a missed jumper by Miami’s Brian Grant and a Mavericks turnover, Odom worked in close but missed a shot with 34.3 seconds left. Daniels then hit a driving layup.
Following a timeout, Odom drove the lane, hit the layup and was fouled with 29 seconds remaining in OT. But he missed the tying free throw.
Jamison’s put back with 4.7 seconds left gave the Mavericks a 118-115 lead and set up the hectic finish.
The victory gave Miami its longest winning streak since a seven-game string from March 28-April 9, 2000.
In the fourth quarter, Daniels hit a jumper to give Dallas a 106-101 lead with 1:39 left. Alston answered with a 3-pointer, and Jones’ two free throws with 54.4 seconds remaining tied the score.
After Daniels, who scored 18 second-half points, missed a short jumper with 32 seconds left, Miami grabbed the ball and called a timeout with 24.4 on the clock.
Alston drove and missed with 14.2 left, and Steve Nash missed a jumper in the final second.
Nowitzki fouled out with Dallas ahead 104-99 and 1:53 left in the fourth quarter.
“He’s the key to our team, but we can’t base our success or failure on one guy,” Mavericks center Shawn Bradley said. “We’ve got a lot of talent on this team, and we’ve got to find a way to win.”
Miami improved to 25-12 at home. Dallas fell to 14-23 on the road.
“I don’t know if there ever has been a better game played in this arena,” Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. “This was absolutely a great game. It was a great game for the franchise.”
The Mavericks, who have lost eight of 13, fell to 1-3 on their current road trip.
Dallas closed the third quarter with a 15-6 run that built an 84-81 lead. Danny Fortson scored 11 points in 11 minutes of the third quarter.
Jones scored 14 points and Odom had 11 points and 11 rebounds to help the Heat take a 57-54 halftime edge. It was the 12th consecutive game Miami led at halftime.
Nowitzki had 14 points and eight rebounds in the first half, when both teamswere 22-of-47 from the field.
Dallas swingman Michael Finley, listed as day-to-day with a strained right calf, missed his second consecutive game. He sat on the bench in street clothes. … Alston extended his team-record consecutive game streak with at least one 3-pointer to 38. … Wade had five dunks. … The Mavericks had won six of the previous seven meetings with Miami. … It was the Heat’s firstnationally televised game since April 10, 2002.