Dallas Mavericks History
The Mavericks advanced to their first NBA Finals in franchise history when they defeated the Phoenix Suns in game 6 of the Western Conference Finals on June 3, 2006 in the US Airways Center in Phoenix. They faced the Miami Heat in the finals, held home-court advantage and scored two convincing wins. After game 2 Dallas city officials had already planned the victory parade.
However, in Game 3, the Mavs blew a late double-digit lead, courtesy of Heat superstar guard Dwyane Wade, who would score at least 36 points in the last four matches. He carried the Heat to the win, with Nowitzki missing a potentially game-tying free throw in the last seconds.
After being blown out in Game 4, the Mavericks suffered another heartbreaking loss in Game 5 when Wade scored the game-tying basket in the last possession of regular time and put the Heat ahead with last-second free throws in overtime. The tragic figure was Josh Howard, who missed a pair of clutch free throws in overtime and mistakenly called an early timeout, so the Mavs had to bring in the ball at backcourt rather than halfcourt for the last possession.
In Game 6, the Mavericks took an early double-digit lead, but again, Wade poured in 36 points, helped by Alonzo Mourning's five blocked shots, and the Mavericks lost their fourth game and the title after a string of botched three pointers.
Dallas Mavericks officials and fans have cited poor officiating and phantom calls as secondary contributors to their loss to the Heat. The most prominent claim concerned the waning seconds of overtime in Game 5, where Wade drew a foul while driving the lane. The claim is that 1) Wade committed a backcourt violation on the inbounds pass by catching the pass before establishing himself in the backcourt, 2) Wade committed an offensive foul on Jason Terry, and 3) the foul call on Nowitzki when Wade drove the lane was erroneous, as there was no contact.
However, the Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki consistently failed to show up in the fourth quarters of several games, including the crucial Game 6 where he went 0-4 and passed up numerous open shots. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined a total of $250,000 for "several acts of misconduct" during the series, Nowitzki was fined $5,000 for kicking a ball into the stands after Game 5, and Jerry Stackhouse was suspended for Game 5 after tackling Shaquille O'Neal on a breakaway dunk attempt. The latter marked the third time a Mavericks player was suspended in the 2006 playoffs.
The Mavericks became only the third team in NBA history (the first since 1977) to lose in the Finals after taking a 2-0 lead. In Game 3, the Mavs held a 13-point lead with under seven minutes remaining but were outscored 22-7 in the momentum-changing 98-96 defeat. The Heat's performance in the last seven minutes represented the team's greatest postseason comeback in team history.
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