Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points and the Dallas Mavericks rallied in the fourth quarter again to defeat the Miami Heat 86-83 in Game 4 of the NBA Finals and tie the series at 2-2.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points and the Dallas Mavericks rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat the Miami Heat 86-83 in Game 4 of the NBA Finals and tie the series.
Nowitzki, who was playing with an 102-degree fever hit arguably his biggest shot of the game with just 14 seconds left in the fourth quarter driving past Udonis Haslam for a layup.
“I didn’t really have a good night’s rest, so it was just under the weather a little bit but (I) just battled it out,” Nowitzki told the Toronto Star. “There’s no long-term, I’ll be all right on Thursday. It’s just a little sinus infection, hopefully I’ll get some sleep tonight, take some meds and be ready to go on Thursday.”
While Nowitzki carried the Mavs offense once again he had some help from Jason Terry who recorded 17 points and Tyson Chandler who mustered 13 points and 16 rebounds in nearly 43 minutes on the court.
After the Mavs loss in Game 3, Nowitzki criticized Terry for not being the crunch-time clutch player they need him to be coming off the bench. And in Game 4 Terry was just that, hitting three big shots in the fourth quarter – two to bring the Mavs back from a nine point deficit and one to put them up 79-78 with just over five minutes left in the game.
Although down the stretch of Game 4 both teams hit big shots, the fourth quarter especially was matched by missed opportunities. Miami scored just 14 points in the final quarter and Dallas shot only 39 percent in the game, still finding a way to win.
“Look, we’re a tough ball club,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle told the Toronto Star. “We’ve been tough all year. We don’t have the appearance of a physically-bruising type team, but this is as mentally tough a group as I’ve ever had.”
On the other side of the floor Dwayne Wade put together another strong offensive performance of 32 points, going 13-20 from the field, but dropped a Mike Miller inbound pass his just over five seconds left in the game, denying him an opportunity to tie the game.
Lebron James on the other hand had by far his worst performance of the 2011 playoffs.
Recording just eight points, James had his worst playoff performance of his career and it was the first time he scored under 10 points in a regular season game in January of 2007.
“The fact that it happened in a loss is the anger part about it,” James told the Associated Press. “That's all that matters to me. If I'd have had eight points and we won the game ... I don't really care about that. The fact that I could have done more offensively to help our team, that's the anger part about it for myself. But I'll come back in Game 5 and do things that need to be done to help our team win.”