Jason Terry, Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki played the three-headed closer role on Thursday night as the Dallas Mavericks weathered the Miami Heat's fourth quarter spurt before going on a run of their own to take a 3-2 series lead with a 112-103 win. With the Mavericks trailing by four after Dwyane Wade's three with just under four minutes to go, Dallas went on a 17-4 run to close the game, with the three scoring each of those 17 points, capped by Terry's three-pointer over LeBron James with 33 seconds to go. It's become a recurring theme in the Mavericks' three wins in the NBA Finals.
This time around, it was the outside game springing to life in the waning moments and providing Dallas a lift as Kidd and Terry hit with deadly accuracy from beyond the arc. Combined with Nowitzki's work on the interior, Dallas was unstoppable, and there was little the Heat could do to keep pace. Kidd and Terry combined for 13 points -- nine from the perimeter and four from the free throw line -- to ice the game. Nowitzki triggered the run with two free throws to stop the bleeding and a two to retake the lead with just under three minutes to go -- a lead the Mavericks would never surrender.
And on the defensive end, Dallas ramped up the intensity, drawing three offensive fouls in the final three minutes and frustrating the Miami superstars. While the Heat were stuck in neutral thanks to the Mavericks defensive effort, Dallas was firing, and the end result was a nine-point win -- the largest of the series -- and a one-game cushion as the series head back to Miami for Game 6 on Sunday.