Monday , Jun , 12 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Miami at Dallas – Game 2 – Summary

Final Score: Dallas 99, Miami 85

Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – Dirk Nowitzki had a game-high 26 points and 16 rebounds as the Dallas Mavericks cruised to a 99-85 win over the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the NBA Finals at American Airlines Center.

"The energy was great today," said Nowitzki. "We were helping on defense. Our offense really moved the ball to the open guy and we really shared the ball well. We played with each other as a team and attacked from all angles. I thought defensively we rotated for each other and we had active hands. It was really fun to watch."

Jerry Stackhouse scored 19 points off the bench and Jason Terry contributed 16 points and tied a career playoff-high with nine assists for the Mavericks, who are two wins away from their first ever NBA title after also taking Game 1. Josh Howard netted 15, while Devin Harris had 11 points in the game.

Dwyane Wade paced the Heat with 23 points and eight boards, but shot only 6- of-19 from the floor. Antoine Walker finished 4-of-7 from long distance for 20 points for Miami, which will host Game 3 on Tuesday. Jason Williams and Alonzo Mourning each chipped in 11 points in the contest.

"They did what they were supposed to do by wining two at home," said Wade. "Now we’ve got to go take care of our home, starting Tuesday. We’ll use our crowd to get our energy up, but we’ve got to play a lot better on both ends of the floor."

Shaquille O’Neal had a personal playoff-low with five points on 2-of-5 shooting from the field and 1-of-7 from the line. Every time O’Neal touched the ball, the Dallas defense collapsed with double and triple- teams in the paint, forcing the center to dish the ball. With the game out of reach, O’Neal sat on the bench for most of the third quarter and the entire fourth frame. He left the arena without speaking to the media.

"Yes we need to get him (O’Neal) the basketball," said Miami head coach Pat Riley. "This game is about another team’s competitiveness and energy to start the game. They doubled him every single time he caught the ball, he made the pass he was supposed to make out. The other times they would front him. Anytime we tried to throw the ball over the top we didn’t get out of it what we wanted."

Udonis Haslem, who was given the task of guarding Nowitzki, missed the entire second half with a bruised left shoulder.

Dallas connected on 48.6 percent of its shots, including 8-of-19 from beyond the arc, while Miami shot 41.4 percent from the field.

Once again, the Heat struggled from the free throw line, shooting 62.5 percent.

Trailing 18-17, the Heat opened the second quarter with an 11-5 burst, including four points apiece from Wade and Mourning, to take a 28-23 lead. However, Dallas responded with a 16-2 rally, showcased by Howard’s three- pointer, for a 39-30 advantage. Nowitzki began the streak with a jumper and capped the run with a layup.

Miami scored four quick points to pull within five, 39-34, but just like in Game 1 the Mavericks closed the second quarter with a flurry of points.

Dallas used an 11-0 run, highlighted by Stackhouse’s four-point play followed by a three-pointer just before time expired, for its biggest lead of the half, 50-34. Stackhouse scored the final 10 points of the second quarter as the Mavericks connected on 12 of their final 14 shots.

The Mavs outscored the Heat 32-17 in the second stanza. After shooting 8- of-14 from the line in the first quarter, Miami had no free throw attempts in the second frame.

The Heat never made a run in the third as Dallas extended its lead to as many as 27 at 78-51. Williams’ three cut the deficit to 15, 55-40, just over two minutes into the quarter, but that’s as close as Miami would get.

Dallas took an 82-58 lead into the final frame.

The Heat scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter, including four points from Wade, to pull within 82-66 with just under 9 1/2 minutes to play. Terry drained the Mavs’ first field goal four minutes into the fourth quarter.

Not giving up, Miami used a 14-6 surge, capped by James Posey’s trey, to cut the lead to 90-78 with 4:05 to play.

However, Harris’ three-point play on the other end pushed the lead back to 15. Wade scored the next five Heat points, but Nowitzki scored four of his own to keep the margin at 14, 97-83, with 2:06 on the clock.

"The whole thing is about the next game and trying to leave this behind us," said Riley. "Maybe it will set a fire in us a little bit to do something a little bit different than we did down here. I leave it behind us and we make the adjustments, we come ready and hard Tuesday night and that’s all it’s about now."

O’Neal had a chance for a three-point play to open the game, but the center couldn’t convert his free throw attempt. After shooting 1-for-9 from the line in Game 1, O’Neal continued his shooting woes from the charity stripe, missing all three tries in the first half. He would go almost 20 1/2 minutes before scoring again.

"We were really trying to double team him (O’Neal) quite a bit even before he got the ball," said Dallas head coach Avery Johnson. "We were just trying to make them go other places sometimes, and sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t."

With Dallas leading 16-9, Miami closed the opening frame with an 8-2 run, highlighted by Walker’s trey, narrowing the gap to 18-17.

Game Notes

O’Neal’s previous playoff low was seven points, set in Game 2 against Houston during the opening round of the 2004 playoffs while with the Lakers. O’Neal’s previous NBA Finals low of 14 points came in Game 3 of the 2004 championship, while with the Lakers, against Detroit… Stackhouse converted just the seventh four-point play in NBA Finals history. Howard hit the eighth attempt in the early minutes of the third…The 1969 Boston Celtics and the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers were the only two teams to come back from an 0-2 deficit in the NBA Finals…Miami is 0-7 in the 2006 playoffs when trailing at the half…Dallas outrebounded the Heat, 46-32…After being outscored 24-2 in Game 1, the Miami bench had a better showing in Game 2, but was still outdone by the Dallas reserves, 41-20…The Mavs committed 18 turnovers compared to 13 for the Heat…Dallas’ Erick Dampier had a career playoff-high 13 rebounds…Since the league adopted the 2-3-2 format for the Finals in 1985, the previous nine teams who won Games 1 and 2 at home went on to win the series. Only once did one of those nine series even go seven games (San Antonio over Detroit in 2005).