Heat will try to rebound in Game 3
Reporting from Dallas — The Miami Heat has experienced turbulence so often this season that it only seems fitting that any championship flight include at least one final jolt on the way to the team’s desired destination.
So although the sting of Thursday night’s blown 15-point fourth-quarter lead to the Dallas Mavericks in a 95-93 loss that tied the best-of-seven NBA Finals, 1-1, opened a new wound for the Heat, this also is a team that has shown a continued ability to heal.
Right now, it is the only option, with the series shifting to Dallas for the next three games, starting with Game 3 on Sunday at American Airlines Center.
“We haven’t had it easy at times,” said Coach Erik Spoelstra, who gave his team Friday off as the Heat traveled to Dallas, “so we know how to respond when our back is against the wall.”
The Heat has proved to be both flawed and resilient this season.
It was the former Thursday. Now it will need to be the latter.
“It’s not about what happens at the moment, you just have to stay with it, don’t get too high, don’t get too low,” said forward Chris Bosh, who missed 12 of 16 shots in Game 2. “Stay with the plan.
“We’re faced with a challenge now. We’re going to have to go and win on the road. And we’ve had to do that before, so we shouldn’t be surprised that that’s our situation now.”
For now, the Heat is playing the confidence card.
“Every time we have had a pitfall, we’ve figured out how to bounce back,” forward LeBron James said. “Right now, we have another one. As a veteran ballclub and a team that’s been through a lot, we understand how important this next one is with Game 3 being in Dallas and we look forward to the challenge.”
After Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki played with a sore left middle finger in Game 2, he drew more comparisons to Larry Bird. Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle, who was a teammate of Bird’s, noticed the similarities in toughness.
“Look, I played with Bird for three years when he was the best player in the world,” Carlisle said. “Guys like that don’t feel pain right now. You play, you play and if you’re feeling pain, you make yourself numb so you don’t feel pain. You’ve got to play and you’ve got to be a warrior.”
Nowitzki played with a splint after tearing ligaments on his non-shooting hand in Game 1. He finished with 24 points, including the last nine for the Mavericks, and a game-high 11 rebounds.
“Finger felt fine, and hopefully it’s going to stay that way,” Nowitzki said.
Sun Sentinel staff writer Shandel Richardson contributed to this report from Miami.
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