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Mavericks Win Game 5, Lead Heat 3-2

The Dallas Mavericks are now one win away from their first NBA Championship after defeating the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the NBA Finals by the score of 112-103. Dirk Nowitzki scored 29 points and Jason Terry chipped in with 21 off the bench, as the Mavs take the series  lead at 3-2. LeBron James had a triple-double (17 pts, 10 reb, 10 ast) in a losing effort. Here is more from the AP and espn.com, followed by more blogging from Scott.

 Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks finally have the lead in these ultra-close NBA Finals, and now it really is “now or never” for LeBron James and the Miami Heat.Nowitzki scored 29 points, driving for the go-ahead dunk with 2:45 remaining, and the Mavericks beat the Heat 112-103 on Thursday night to take a 3-2 lead in the NBA finals.

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James’ triple-double is nice, but if the Heat are going to come back and win the series, LeBron James has to get to the free throw line. At 6’8, 250 pounds, he must get to the paint. James and Dwyane Wade lived at the FT line all season. While James hasn’t reached the FT line much, Wade went 12 times in 34 minutes on Thursday night.

In the 3 Maverick wins, Dirk Nowitzki has been solid, while a role player or two has stepped up in each game. In Game 5 it was Jason Terry and JJ Barea. Barea constantly penetrated off the pick and roll, finishing with 17 points in his 2nd start. Terry had his best game of the Finals. The Jet had 21 big points, going 8 of 12 from the field. His 3 pointer with a little over a minute to go sealed the victory for the Mavericks.

“I felt great. I felt great. I was in rhythm tonight. I came out aggressive, something we have to continue to do,” said a smiling Terry after the game. “We’re not happy with our defensive performance, but offensively, if we score 100, I told you what would happen.”

The Heat now head home, facing elimination in Game 6. Last year in the Finals, the Lakers trailed the Celtics 3-2, but won the last two at home to win the championship. Miami will have their chance to even the series on Sunday night, with tip-off set for 7:00.

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