Miami Heat Take NBA Finals Opener

Tuesday, May 31, 2011  |  Updated 8:59 PM PDT
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Miami Heat: Stars in the Stands

AP

LeBron helped the Heat beat the Mavs in Game 1.

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The Miami Heat came around in the second half to win the first of the NBA finals, 92-84.

LeBron James scored 24 points for his first win in five finals-game appearances, Dwyane Wade added 22 points and 10 rebounds and the Heat beat the Dallas Mavericks 92-84 in Game 1 of the title series Tuesday night. The Heat trailed by eight points early in the third quarter before pulling away.

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

Dirk Nowitzki scored seven points in a span of three possessions during a surge by the Dallas Mavericks late in the first half Tuesday night, and they rallied to lead the Miami Heat 44-43 at halftime.

Nowitzki was only 1 for 6 from the field in the first 20 minutes but made his final three shots of the half. The Mavericks scored on eight consecutive possessions during the surge, outscoring the Heat 18-10.

One of Nowitzki's baskets put Dallas ahead 36-35 — the ninth and final lead change of the half. Dallas' Tyson Chandler took an alley-oop pass from Jason Kidd and converted it into a three-point play for a 41-38 lead.

Nowitzki had 13 points at the half and Jason Terry 12, including three 3-pointers. Nowitzki came into the series on a roll, averaging 32.2 points in the Mavericks' five-game victory over Oklahoma City in the Western Conference finals.

Chris Bosh led Miami with 13 points. LeBron James had 10, and Mario Chalmers provided an unexpected boost with three 3-pointers and 10 points. Dwyane Wade, who struggled for much of the Eastern Conference finals, shot only 3 for 10 and had three turnovers.

The Mavericks, averaging nearly 100 points per game in the playoffs, made only seven of their first 25 shots but made six of their final nine of the half.

James made a steal, drove on Nowitzki and converted a three-point play to put the Heat up 11-5. That was their biggest lead of the half.

Terry made two free throws to give the Mavs their first lead, 17-16. The 38-year-old Kidd, who became the oldest guard to start in the NBA finals, sank two early 3-pointers.

Joel Anthony started out guarding Nowitzki, but the Heat rotated defenders. On one possession Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller double-teamed the Mavs' star to force a jump ball.

James, Wade and Bosh began the night four victories from the title they joined forces to win. Much of the country was rooting to see the Heat humbled after their theatrics of last summer, when James announced with considerable pomp that he was bringing his talents to South Beach.

James was playing in the finals for only the second time. His Cavaliers were swept by San Antonio in 2007.

The series is a rematch of the 2006 finals, which Miami won in six games. The Mavericks beat the Heat in their past 14 regular-season meetings, including both this season.

The Heat were trying to protect home-court advantage they earned by finishing one win ahead of Dallas during the regular season. Since 1985, when the league went to the 2-3-2 format for the finals, the team with home-court advantage has won 20 of 26 championships.

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