Dallas guard Jason Terry, a graduate of Franklin High School in Seattle, scored a game-high 27 points to lead the Mavericks to a 105-95 victory in Miami that gave the franchise its first NBA championship.
MIAMI — As snow fell on a steamy June night, pigs suddenly grew wings and Dallas Mavericks fans will wake up Monday and hit every green light on the way to work.
Yes, the Mavericks are NBA champions. The little franchise that never could finally did.
If ever there was proof that anything is possible, this was it.
The Mavericks beat the Miami Heat 105-95 Sunday night to finish off a rugged, mesmerizing NBA Finals by beating the Heat 4-2 in the best-of-seven series.
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Dallas guard Jason Terry, a graduate of Franklin High School in Seattle, scored a game-high 27 points on 11-for-16 shooting. In October, Terry got a tattoo of the NBA championship trophy on his arm because he wanted teammates to know he was serious about winning a title.
“When you do something as crazy as I did,” Terry said Sunday, glancing at the tattoo, “you gotta back it up.”
It was the first championship for the Mavericks, who have been in existence since 1980. It will validate the careers of Terry, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and others in the organization. It is the first title for a major Dallas sports team since the NHL Stars won the Stanley Cup in 1999.
That it happened on Miami’s court made the victory a little sweeter. It was five years ago the Heat danced and partied in Dallas when it beat the Mavericks 4-2.
“I’ve gone to sleep with it every night for five years,” Terry said. “Tonight, we got some redemption.”
Nowitzki, who was voted most valuable player of the Finals, scored 21 points on 9-for-27 shooting. He had a game-high 11 rebounds.
“I still really can’t believe it,” Nowitzki said. “We worked so hard. It’s been an unbelievable ride.”
LeBron James led the Heat with 21 points on 9-for-15 shooting and Chris Bosh added 19 points on 7-for-9 shooting. Miami hurt itself by going 20 of 33 from the free-throw line.
Much of the blame for the Heat’s series loss is likely to be placed on James.
Even he knew that after the way he left Cleveland as a free agent with “The Decision” and all the animus that generated, the only way he could silence some critics was with a title.
“It doesn’t weigh on me,” James said. “At all.”
James got more criticism — and a thinly veiled jab from his former owner with the Cavaliers, Dan Gilbert, who reveled in the moment on Twitter.
“Mavs NEVER stopped & now entire franchise gets rings,” Gilbert wrote. “Old Lesson for all: There are NO SHORTCUTS. NONE.”
The Heat was outscored by 24 points while James was on the court in Game 6.
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle joined an elite group, those with NBA titles as both a player and a coach. Ten other men are on that list, including one of Carlisle’s mentors, K.C. Jones; and Pat Riley, president of the Heat.
Riley was the mastermind of what the Heat did last summer by getting James, Dwyane Wade and Bosh on the same team.
Carlisle said Riley came down to congratulate Dallas after the game, showing “unbelievable class.”
Of the Mavericks, Carlisle said, “This is a true team. This is an old bunch. We don’t run fast or jump high. These guys had each other’s backs.”
Dallas took a 40-28 lead in the second quarter when DeShawn Stevenson made the third of his three-point baskets in first half. But the Heat responded with a 14-0 flurry to go ahead.
It was at the end of that roll, with 6:25 to go in the half, that the Mavericks called timeout and players who were heading toward their benches got testy. Udonis Haslem and Stevenson pushed each other, and the Heat’s Mario Chalmers also got involved.
Haslem, Chalmers and Stevenson got technical fouls.