Wednesday , Jun , 14 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Miami leads Dallas at the halfway point of Game 3


With a sea of white as the backdrop, Dwyane Wade has scored 21 points and the Heat have fed off abundant electricity in AmericanAirlines Arena, as Miami holds a 52-43 lead over Dallas at the half of Game 3 in the NBA Finals.

Wade has attacked the rim in the opening 24 minutes, draining 11-of-14 from the charity stripe. The guard has also pulled down nine rebounds, as the Heat have outrebounded the Mavericks, 30-16.

Shaquille O’Neal has 10 points for the Heat, who face a 2-0 series deficit. However, on a positive note, Miami has won its last 23 playoff games when leading at halftime.

Dirk Nowitzki has 11 points and Josh Howard has 10 points for Dallas, which has won all four meetings with Miami this season. The Mavericks have made just 14-of-40 shots from the floor in the half.

Miami used an early 8-0 burst to set the tone. Wade drained a jumper and slashed to the basket for a layup, Jason Williams converted from in close and Antoine Walker scored a layup off a solid interior pass from O’Neal.

Wade tallied the final four points of the period, including a beautiful ball fake and coast-to-coast layup that gave the Heat a 29-21 edge.

It was more of the same in the second stanza, as the Heat closed the half on an 8-2 run. Wade drained three free throws then Jason Williams buried a three- pointer with 28 ticks remaining to cap the scoring.