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Thursday, June 2, 2011

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Heating up: Heat forward LeBron James goes up for a dunk against the Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday in Miami. The Heat won 92-84 to take a 1-0 lead in the series. AP

James, Wade power Heat past Mavericks

AP

MIAMI — Dwyane Wade's night began with a hug for his mom. It ended with an embrace from LeBron James.

And the Miami Heat have struck first in the NBA Finals.

James scored 24 points for his first win in five Finals game appearances, Wade added 22 points and 10 rebounds and the Heat beat the Dallas Mavericks 92-84 in Game 1 of the title series on Tuesday night.

Chris Bosh scored 19 points and Mario Chalmers added 12 for Miami, which hosts Game 2 on Thursday night.

"I just was aggressive," Wade said. "We understand that this is the kind of game we wanted to play. We had them where we wanted them in the sense of points. You know they (weren't) scoring a lot on us and offensively we just executed and guys made plays."

The Heat trailed by eight points early in the third quarter before pulling away, remaining unbeaten at home in these playoffs and snapping Dallas' five-game road winning streak.

Wade's 3-pointer with 3:06 left put the Heat up 82-73, then the largest lead of the game for either team.

The Mavs shaved two points off it on the next possession when Dirk Nowitzki hit two free throws, but James gave the Heat their first double-digit lead of the night a few seconds later.

He dribbled upcourt against Shawn Marion, crossed his dribble over and got clear for a dunk while being fouled. The free throw made it 85-75, and most in the sellout, white-clad crowd began standing in anticipation.

Even then, it wasn't over.

Nowitzki made two more free throws — he was 12-for-12 from the line in the game — with 1:36 left, cutting the Miami lead to six.

A momentary blip.

Wade grabbed a key defensive rebound, dribbled away from three Dallas pursuers and found Bosh for a dunk with 1:08 left that restored the 10-point lead. Another dunk by James came with 38.6 seconds left, sealing the outcome.

"By and large, we've got to play better, just overall," said Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, especially noting Miami's 16-6 edge in offensive rebounds.

Nowitzki scored 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Dallas, which got 16 points and 10 rebounds from Marion and 12 from Jason Terry — most of those coming in an early flurry. It was Dallas' fifth straight loss to Miami in Finals games, dating to the Heat rally for the 2006 crown.

"We aren't going to win too many games getting 67 shots. . . . That's not us," Marion said.

Dallas had 51 points after 26 minutes. The Mavericks scored 18 points in the next 18 minutes, 33 over the remainder of the game, as Miami's defense found another gear.

"That's kind of the way we've been winning games, of late," Wade said. "You've got to stay with it. You can't get frustrated because the ball's not going in. There's other ways you can dominate the game and we (were) able to do that tonight.

"I thought we did a great job in the second half of rebounding the ball, limiting them to one shot as much as possible."



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