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Mavericks Win, Even Series 2-2

Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler, and the Dallas Mavericks took down the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, winning 86-83. It was another comeback for the Mavs, who were down by 9 in the 4th quarter. Dirk Nowitzki finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds while battling the flu. Tyson Chandler scored 16 and pulled down 13 boards, including 9 on the offensive glass. Here is more from the AP and espn.com, followed by more blogging from Scott.

Nowitzki shook off three poor quarters to score 10 of his 21 points in the final period as the Mavericks outscored the Miami Heat 21-9 over the final 10:12 for an 86-83 victory in a memorable Game 4 on Tuesday night.

The Mavs avoided going down 3-1, a deficit no team has ever overcome in the Finals, and guaranteed the series will return to Miami for a Game 6 on Sunday night. Game 5 is Thursday in Dallas.

Rick Carlisle had a hell of a coaching performance. He adjusted his starting lineup, managed Dirk’s minutes (while Dirk was sick), limited Shawn Marion’s minutes, switched from man to zone, and then back to zone again coming out of a Heat timeout in the 4th quarter. He pushed all the right buttons to help his team overcome Dirk’s flu. Speaking of Dirk’s flu, coach Carlisle was impressed at how his superstar left it all on the floor.

“He did everything that he could possibly do,” explained Carlisle. “I love the way he played. Fighting through that was not easy…He conserved his energy the best that he could and he made a lot of huge plays. 

Photo by Robyn Beck-Pool/Getty Images

 Jason Terry scored some key buckets in the 4th quarter to spur the Mavericks comeback. His pick and roll with Tyson Chandler closed the gap quickly. Chandler was the most consistent player for Dallas in Game 4. Miami killed Dallas on the boards in the 1rst quarter, and Chandler took it upon himself to clean up the glass. He played a team-high 43 minutes, and finished with a game-high 16 rebounds.”

“We just played with incredible heart and passion,” said Chandler after the game.

The Miami Heat have to be kicking themselves after this loss, in particular LeBron James. James had his first single digit scoring postseason game of his career. Only 8 points on 3 of 11 shooting is not going to cut it if Miami wants to win. Considering James spent more time on the floor than anyone (46 minutes), his subpar stat line (8 pts, 9 rbs, 7 ast, 2 stl, 0 blk) is disturbing for Heat fans.

“I’ve got to do a better job of being more assertive offensively,” said James. “I can’t stay out of rhythm offensively.”

Now the series is best 2 out of 3. Game 5 is in Dallas Thursday, with tip-off set for 8:00.

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