NBA Finals 2011: Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks Defeat Heat In Game 6, 105-95, Win NBA Championship

Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks defeated LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat, four games to two, to win the 2011 NBA Championship title. Read more at SB Nation, as well as our team blogs, Peninsula Is Mightier and Mavs Moneyball.

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NBA Finals 2011: Dirk Nowitzki Named Most Valuable Player Of Finals

Dirk Nowitzki was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2011 NBA Finals after he and his Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat in six games to win the 2011 NBA Championship.

Nowitzki, who scored 21 points and had 11 rebounds in Game 6, averaged 26 points and 9.6 rebounds in six games this series.

This season marked the second time that Nowitzki has played in the NBA Finals. Ironically, Nowitzki and the Mavericks lost to Dwyane Wade and the Heat in six games in the Finals in 2006.

For more 2011 NBA Finals coverage, visit SB Nation and follow our StoryStream.

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Mavericks Vs. Heat, Game 6: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Beat Miami, 105-95, Win First NBA Championship

Dirk Nowitzki had one message for LeBron James on Sunday night - king me.

Nowitzki finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds as the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat, 101-95, in Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. 

Dallas never let up, leading 32-27 after the first quarter. Miami outscored Dallas, 24-21, in the second quarter, but was outscored 28-21 in the third and 24-23 in the fourth quarter.

Jason Terry scored 27 to lead all scorers, Jose Juan Barea scored 15 points and Shawn Marion added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Mavericks. Dallas shot 50 percent from the field and shot 42.3 percent from three-point range.

LeBron James had 21 points, six assists and four rebounds to lead Miami, which shot 47.2 percent from the floor. Chris Bosh had 19 points and eight rebounds and Dwyane Wade added 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

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NBA Finals 2011: LeBron James, Miami Heat Prepare For Must-Win Game 6

LeBron James has made it known that he came to South Beach for one reason - to win an NBA title. If he and his Miami Heat can't get up for two more games, that dream will be deferred for at least one more season.

James and the Heat are preparing to host Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in must-win Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals at 9 p.m. EDT on Sunday Night at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida (TV/Radio: ABC/WEEI).

"I think the game of basketball can be pressure," James said. "It doesn't matter if it's the finals or the conference finals or first round. Playoff basketball is all about pressure, how you can handle it." (via WEEI)

Miami held serve in the first game of the series, defeating the Mavericks, 92-84, at home. However, the Mavs stole Game 2 in enemy territory, escaping with a 95-93 win in Miami.

Dallas continued its strong play, winning two of its three home games - 86-83 in Game 4 and 112-103 in Game 5. The Mavericks' only home loss came in Game 3, with James and company pulling out an 88-86 victory.

James has had a sub-par series, averaging 17.2 points through five game. While James' numbers aren't horrendous, they are far off base from what fans have come to expect from the league's biggest superstar.

"That's just a part of the game if you're the star or the face of the franchise," Nowitzki said Saturday. "If you win, it's great for you, and everybody looks at you. And if you lose, you're going to get hammered. It's just part of the business. I think we understand that, we've been around long enough. I got the hammered the last 13 years, basically. So hopefully this year I can make the hammering go away for a year."

Nowitzki has been a consistent producer for the Mavericks in the Finals, averaging 27 points in five games. If Nowitzki can give his team one more solid game this season, the Mavericks may be in possession of their first NBA championship banner.

"We're one win away from my dream, what I've worked on for half my life," Nowitzki said. "This is really all I'm worried about, this is all I'm focusing on, and not really the off-the-court stuff that happened."

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NBA Finals 2011: Dirk Nowitzki Calls James, Wade 'Childish'

Dirk Nowitzki dealt with a sinus infection that resulted in a 101-degree fever during Game 4 of the 2011 NBA Finals, which allegedly prompted taunting from Miami Heat superstars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

James and Wade appeared to mock Nowitzki's illness prior to Game 5, and Nowitzki didn't like it.

"I just thought it was a little childish, a little ignorant," Nowitzki said before Saturday's practice at American Airlines Arena. "I've been in this league for 13 years. I've never faked an injury or illness." (via ESPN)

Naturally, the Heat's dynamic duo denied the report, saying that the media blew the story up.

"I actually did cough," Wade said. "And with the cameras being right there, we made a joke out of it because we knew you guys were going to blow it up. You did exactly what we knew.

"We never said Dirk's name. I think he's not the only one in the world who can get sick or have a cough. We just had fun with the cameras being right in our face about the blowup of the incident, and it held to be true. You blew it up."

"I'm not feeding into that," said James, who has been heavily criticized for performing well below his standards during this series. "If you guys want to feed into everything that not only myself or D-Wade or the Miami Heat do, I think that's a non-issue. There's bigger issues in this series than that." (via ESPN)

Here's the video of the alleged mocking of Nowitzki. Decide for yourself who's right on this.

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Mavericks Vs. Heat, Game 5: LeBron Shines, But Dallas Prevails, 112-103

LeBron James recorded a triple double, scoring 17 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists, but the Miami Heat were bested by the Dallas Mavericks, 112-103, in Game 5 of the 2011 NBA Finals on Thursday night at American Airlines Center in Texas.

Dallas, which now leads the series 3-2, will have two chances to close out the Heat and clinch their first ever NBA championship, but both will be in South Beach. Miami hosts Dallas in Games 6 and 7, with Game 6 taking place on Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. EDT.

Dirk Nowitzki paced the Mavericks' attack, scoring 19 points and grabbing six rebounds. Jason Terry was extremely productive off the bench, scoring 21 points and dishing out six assists. Jose Juan Barea finished with 17 points and both Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd added 13 points for Dallas.

The Mavericks shot 56.4 percent (39-for-69) from the floor and finished with 26 rebounds, 23 assists, eight steals, three blocks and 11 turnovers.

Dwyane Wade led the Heat, totaling 23 points and eight assists. Chris Bosh had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Mario Chalmers had 15 points and four rebounds and Udonis Haslem added 10 points for Miami.

The Heat shot 52.9 percent (37-for-70) from the field and had 36 rebounds, 25 assists, five steals, four blocks and 16 turnovers in the losing effort.

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NBA Finals 2011, Game 5: Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks Battle For Series Lead

LeBron James and the Miami Heat take on Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in a critical Game 5 of the 2011 NBA Finals at 9 p.m. EDT on Thursday evening at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas (ABC).

Dallas, which tied the series at 2-2 following their 86-83 win in Game 4 on Tuesday, will certainly look to Nowitzki to give them an edge. In19 postseason games, Nowitzki is averaging 28 points and 8.1 rebounds for the Mavericks.

"They outplayed us,obviously, in the fourth quarter, and we didn't take care of our business on both ends of the court." - Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat coach. (via Yahoo! Sports)

On the other bench, the Heat will put the ball in the hands of James (24.2 PPG in playoffs) and Dwyane Wade (25 PPG) with hopes of a dominant performance from at least one of them.

History heavily favors the winners of Game 5 in the NBA Finals - the winner of Game 5 in a series tied 2-2 goes on to win the series 73 percent of the time.

James is the biggest storyline entering the game, following his eight-point performance in Game 4 - a career postseason low. Prior to the game, James billed Thursday night's contest as "the biggest game of my life." 

James will certainly want to put his best foot forward - the question is, will Dallas let him?

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NBA Finals 2011, Mavericks Vs. Heat, Game 4: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Fend Off Miami, 86-83

Dirk Nowitzki scored 10 points in the final quarter and the Dallas Mavericks outscored the Miami Heat, 21-9, in the final 10 minutes and 12 seconds en route to their 86-83 win over the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the 2011 NBA Finals on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

Dallas, which tied the best of seven series at 2-2, shot just 39.7 percent (29-for-73) in the game and finished with 41 rebounds, 13 assists, seven steals, two blocks and 11 turnovers.

Nowitzki finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Jason Terry scored 17 off the bench, Shawn Marion had 16 points, Tyson Chandler had 13 points and 16 rebounds and DeShawn Stevenson added 11 points for Dallas.

Dwyane Wade led Miami with 32 points and six rebounds and Chris added 24 points and six rebounds. LeBron James had his worst game of the series, finishing with eight points, but did have nine rebounds and seven assists.

Miami shot 42.7 percent from the floor (32-for-75) and had 44 rebounds, 19 assists, eight steals, five blocks and 13 turnovers.

Dallas hosts Miami in Game 5 on Thursday night at American Airlines Center.

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NBA Finals 2011, Mavericks Vs. Heat, Game 4: Miami Goes For Dagger

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have a chance to deliver the dagger, as they hold a 2-1 series lead over the Dallas Mavericks heading into Game 4 of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center on Tuesday night at 9:00 p.m. (ABC).

The history is rather telling on either side of Tuesday night's outcome. If Miami wins, Dallas is cooked. No team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals.

Yet, if the Mavericks win and tie the series, it's an entirely new series. Whichever team wins Game 5 of the NBA Finals with the series tied 2-2 goes on to win the series 73 percent of the time.

James and Wade are well aware of the circumstances, and by all accounts should come out with their 'A' games. 

If the Mavericks are going to stop the Heat, they need to take a similar approach to that of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers - let James be James and play lockdown defense against everyone else.

The problem is that the Heat have multiple weapons, possibly unlike any team in modern day history. If James is covered, there's Wade. If Wade's covered, there's Bosh. Miami even has solid fourth options in Mike Bibby, Mike Miller and Mario Chalmers

Dallas' best bet is going to be finding a way to contain at least one of the Heat's big two (James or Wade), and making sure to execute on its opportunities on the offensive end.

That starts with Dirk Nowitzki, who is averaging 28.4 points this postseason. However, Nowitzki can't do it along, and will certainly need help from his supporting cast.

Yet the problem in this series for Nowitzki and the Mavericks has been a general lack of production from their secondary stars - Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, JJ Barea.

Terry is averaging 16.8 points in the playoffs, but is averaging 14.3 points through three games in the NBA Finals. Marion has averaged  11.9 points and Kidd has scored 9.6 points per contest this postseason.

If Dallas hopes to force a Game 6 or 7, it will need better production around Nowitzki.

Following Game 4 on Tuesday, Dallas hosts Miami for the final time in the 2011 NBA Finals on Thursday.

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NBA Finals 2011, Mavericks Vs. Heat, Game 3: Miami Tops Dallas, 88-86

Dwyane Wade scored 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and the Miami Heat fended off a late push by the Dallas Mavericks to seal an 88-86 win in Game 3 of the 2011 NBA Finals on Sunday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX.

Trailing by two with less than five seconds, the Mavericks inbounded the ball to Dirk Nowitzki (34 points, 11 rebounds), who was defended well by Udonis Haslem (six points, four rebounds), but he missed a fade-away jumper from the free throw line as time expired.

Miami, which now leads the series 2-1, also received a solid evening from Chris Bosh (18 points, three rebounds) and LeBron James (17 points, nine assists). Mario Chalmers added 12 points off the bench for the Heat, who shot 43.6 percent from the floor.

Jason Terry scored 15 off the bench for Dallas, which shot 40 percent from the field in the game. Shawn Marion finished with 10 points and four rebounds. Jason Kidd had nine points and 10 assists and Tyson Chandler scored five points and collected 11 rebounds for the Mavericks.

Dallas hosts Miami in Game 4 at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday night.

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NBA Finals 2011, Game 3: Dallas Mavericks Hosts Miami Heat

LeBron James and the Miami Heat will take their act to the heart of Texas to take on Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in Game 3 of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center on Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. EDT (TV/Radio: ABC/WEEI).

With the series tied 1-1, Nowitzki and company have the opportunity to close out the Heat in the confines of their home arena, needing only three wins to clinch their first ever NBA title.

After losing in Game 1, the Mavericks erased a 15-point deficit with seven minutes left in the game, ultimately winning 95-93 to even the series. Nowitzki, who hit the game-winning lay up with 3.6 seconds to go, finished with 24 points.

Dallas overcame a 36-point outing from Dwyane Wade and a 20-point, eight-rebound evening from LeBron James.

Nowitzki is the Mavericks' leading scorer this postseason, averaging 28.1 points through 17 games. Jason Terry is second in scoring, averaging 16.9 points for the Mavs, and Jason Kidd is the only other Maverick to average double-digit scoring this postseason (12 PPG).

Miami has been led by the superstar duo of James and Wade, who are averaging 25.5 and 24.4 points, respectively, in 17 playoff games. Chris Bosh is averaging 18.2 points and a team-best 8.9 rebounds for the Heat.

After Sunday night's game, the Mavericks host the Heat in Game 4 on Tuesday night.

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NBA Finals 2011, Game 2: Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks Outlast Heat, 95-93

Dirk Nowitzki scored the go-ahead lay up with 3.6 seconds left and finished with 24 points as the Mavericks outlasted the Miami Heat, 95-93, in Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals on Thursday night at American Airlines Arena in South Beach.

Dallas, which tied the best-of-seven series at 1-1, battled Miami to a 51-51 tie at halftime, but was outscored 24-20 in the third quarter.

With seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Mavericks trailed by 15 points, but Dallas closed out the game on an incredible 22-5 run, capped off by Nowitzki's lay up.

Dwyane Wade (36 points, six assists) missed the potential game-winning three pointer as time expired.

Nowitzki grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and Marion collected eight boards for Dallas. Jason Terry scored 16 off the bench and Tyson Chandler added 13 points. Jason Kidd finished with six points, eight rebounds and five assists for the Mavericks.

LeBron James scored 20, had eight rebounds and turned the ball over five times. Mike Bibby finished with 14 points and Chris Bosh added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Heat.

The series now transitions to Dallas, where the Mavericks will host the Heat for Games 3, 4 and 5. Game 3 is scheduled for Sunday evening at 8:00 p.m. EDT (TV: ABC/TSN).

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NBA Finals 2011, Mavericks Vs. Heat, Game 2: Dallas Seeks Revenge In Miami

Dwyane Wade and LeBron James made a strong statement in the opening game of the 2011 NBA Finals - we're here to win, and we're not going away without a fight.

Dirk Nowitzki and his Mavericks will have to put up a tremendous effort against the Heat in Game 2 on Thursday night in South Beach (9:00 p.m. EDT; TV: ABC) if they plan on hanging around in the Finals.

It's certainly true that an 0-2 series hole isn't insurmountable - the Miami Heat i 2006 and the Boston Bruins this year can tell you that - but against a team that boasts both Wade and James (oh, and did I mention Chris Bosh?), the Mavericks would put themselves at a sever disadvantage if they drop Game 2.

Unfortunately for Dallas, Nowitzki is not at 100 percent after tearing a tendon in his left middle finger in Game 1. Without Nowitzki, the Mavericks' leading scorer in the regular season (23 PPG) and the postseason (28.3 PPG), defeating the star-laden Heat almost seems like an impossible task.

James (25.9 PPG) and Wade (23.6 PPG) have been on a tear this postseason, pushing aside all criticism that the Heat's stars can't finish games.

Unless the Mavericks can find a way to contain both James and Wade, their chances of winning an NBA title are slim.

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NBA Finals 2011: Dirk Nowitzki Has Torn Tendon In Left Middle Finger

Dirk Nowitzki has a torn tendon in his middle left finger, according to a report from ESPN's Brian Windhorst. Nowtizki scored a game-high 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the Mavericks' 92-84 Game 1 loss to the Heat.

RT @WindhorstESPN: Dirk Nowitzki just said he tore a tendon in his left middle finger. Will wear a splint for rest of playoffs.less than a minute ago via Echofon Favorite Retweet Reply

 

Nowitzki was averaging 28.4 points on 51.7 percent shooting from the field through the first 15 games of the 2011 postseason. In addition, Nowitzki is averaging 7.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists in the playoffs.

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NBA Finals 2011, Mavericks Vs. Heat: LeBron James' Time Has Come

You could see it in his eyes, and this time around, you could see it in his play.

LeBron James is ready to win a title, and that fact became apparent after James scored 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the Miami's 92-84 win over Dallas in Game 1 of the 2011 NBA Finals on Tuesday night.

This isn't the LeBron that we've seen before - the one who allegedly quit on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs or who caved at the end of games.

No, not this time around. The time has finally come for James. The ring is his at long last.

While it's only been one game out of (potentially) seven, but you could see that James had the will to win on Tuesday night in South Beach. After all, LeBron did come to Miami to win a championship (not one, not two, not three...you get it).

And when the best player in the world makes such a bold statement like that, you'd better believe him. It's clear now that this version of James is different than the one we saw in the 2007 NBA Finals when his Cavaliers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs.

In the '07 Finals, James was a virtual no-show in Game 1, scoring a mere 14 points. LeBron rebounded in Games 2,3 and 4, scoring 25, 25 and 24 respectively. Still, it was clear that James just didn't have the wherewithal to win that ring.

But from the looks of his performance this postseason (averaging 26 points and 8.9 rebounds through the first 15 postseason games), and his play on Tuesday, it's clear that there is no stopping this man.

Sorry Dallas, but you'll just have to wait for that first championship ring.

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NBA Finals 2011, Mavericks Vs. Heat: Dwyane Wade, LeBron James Lead Miami In 92-84 Game 1 Win

Dwyane Wade (22 points, 10 rebounds, six assists) and LeBron James (24 points, eight rebounds, five assists) took the first step towards an NBA title, taking control of the floor to lead the Miami Heat to a 92-84 win in Game 1 of the 2011 NBA Finals on Tuesday night at American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL.

Miami, which now leads the series 1-0, trailed 17-16 after the first quarter and both teams scored 27 in the second quarter, giving Dallas a 44-43 lead at halftime.

Dallas used a surge at the start of the third quarter to distance itself from Miami, ultimately outscoring the Heat 22-17 in the quarter. However, James and company buckled down in the fourth, outscoring Dallas, 27-23, en route to victory.

Chris Bosh was also effective for Miami, scoring 19 points and collecting nine rebounds. Mario Chalmers scored 12 points Udonis Haslem added seven points and six boards for the Heat.

Dirk Nowitzki was predictably solid in the loss, finishing with 27 points and seven rebounds. Shawn Marion scored 16 points and had 10 rebounds and Jason Terry added 12 points off the bench for Dallas.

Miami will host Dallas in Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals in South Beach on Thursday night.

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NBA Finals 2011: Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks Battle For Championship

The wait is finally over for the 2011 NBA Finals, with the Miami Heat hosting the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the 2011 NBA Finals at 9 p.m. EDT on Tuesday night at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida (TV: ABC/TSN).

It's no surprise that the storyline for the series is LeBron James vs. Dirk Nowitzki - two NBA veteran superstars who have made it to the NBA Finals once before, but didn't have enough left in the tank to capture a ring. Both have never won an NBA championship, yet it appears that both are extremely driven the second time around.

Nowitzki's first trip to the NBA Finals came in 2006 when, ironically, he and the Mavericks faced Dwayne Wade and the very same Miami Heat. After taking a 2-0 series advantage and holding a lead late in Game 3, the Mavericks imploded, losing four straight games, resulting in an NBA title for Wade and Shaquille O'Neal, who now plays for the Boston Celtics.

In the 2011 regular season, Nowitzki led the team with 23 points per game and averaged seven rebounds per contest, but has exploded in the playoffs, averaging 28.4 points on 51.7 percent shooting from the field.

While it's clear that Nowitzki is the Mavericks star and number one option, Dallas isn't lacking secondary options on the court, benefiting from the services of Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, JJ Barea and more.

For James, he and the Cavaliers appeared in the 2007 NBA Finals, but were swept in four games by the San Antonio Spurs. James toiled in Cleveland for three more seasons before making his decision to "take his talents to South Beach" and join Wade and the Heat.

James was Miami's leading scorer in the regular season, averaging 26.7 points, and also led the team with seven assists per game. In the 2011 postseason, James is leading the team in scoring (26.0 PPG), rebounding (8.9 RPG) and steals (1.7 SPG).

If James is Miami No. 1 option (and he is), then Dwayne Wade is clearly 1A. Wade, who is averaging 23.7 points in the playoffs, has already won a title as a No. 1 option against these very same Mavericks.

Should James and Wade both go cold, the Heat can turn to Chris Bosh. In 15 postseason games this season, Bosh is averaging 18.6 points and is tied for the team lead with 8.9 rebounds per contest.

Miami clearly has the best player on the floor in the series in James, and possibly the second best in Wade. However, Nowitzki's brand of basketball is one that is extremely tough for anyone to defend, and should cause problems for the Heat. Yet, on the other hand, it's never an easy task to defend James, Wade and Bosh.

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