NBA Finals Live Blog: Dirk Nowitzki Delivers Again, Dallas Evens Series

NBA Finals Live Blog: Dirk Nowitzki Delivers Again, Dallas Evens Series

End of game, Dallas wins 86-83: Two big mistakes by Dwyane Wade down the stretch — a missed free throw and a fumble of the ball on the final possession — helped cap another great comeback by Dallas.

MVP of the Mavs has gotta go to Tyson Chandler, who time and again came up with a board in the big moments, finishing the night with 16 rebounds and 13 points.

Dirk? He was finally human (on account of a 102-degree fever), going 6-of-19 from the field. But he delivered again in the clutch, squeezing by Udonis Haslem in the final minute for the game-winning layup.

Game 5 is Thursday at 9 p.m. Check back in for's live blog.

Fourth quarter, 0:7, Dallas 86-83: Clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch by the Mavericks — two by Dirk, two by Terry. Who's gonna take the 3 for Miami at game's end? Gott be Wade, in my opinion.

Fourth quarter, 0:14, Dallas 84-81: Despite all his struggles, Dirk comes through in the clutch, driving by Haslem for a scoop layup. He went too early, but I think he both felt the double team coming and saw a seam.

Fourth quarter, 0:30, Dallas 82-81: Dallas can't settle for two DeShawn Stevenson 3-point attempts when they had a two-point lead. That's not good enough. But they get a break, as Wade misses one of his free throws at the other end. For someone who's been such a hero in this game (31 points, four offensive rebounds), that was a big miss.

Fourth quarter, 2:16, Dallas 82-78: Dallas gets the benefit of the early bonus, as Dirk cooly sinks two.

Fourth quarter, 3:13, Dallas 80-78: Dirk looks as sick as 102 degrees sounds. He's now 5-of-17, inlcuding a couple of wide-open looks down the stretch.

Fourth quarter, 5:05, Dallas 79-78: Another comeback for the Comeback Kids — this one powered by a mix of Dirk, Terry and Chandler, who's quietly had a big night (13 points, 12 rebounds).

Fourth quarter, 7:20, Miami 78-73: Wade really has been reminiscent of 2006, stuffing a Tyson Chandler dunk attempt at one end, followed by a fast-break layup at the other.

Fourth quarter, 9:22, Miami 74-69: Mini 4-0 run for Dallas, all scored by Terry — who's decided he's gonna return to being clutch. Dirk's still struggling (hasn't scored since a free throw with 3:51 left in the third.

Fourth quarter, 10:30, Miami 72-65: That Mike Miller foul on Kidd was absolutely a clear-path foul. Mavs should've had the points. Instead, a miss, followed by a 3 for Miller. Poetic injustice?

End of third quarter, Miami 69-65: Dirk, fighting the flu, misses another big shot at the buzzer — this one at the close of the third. Dallas needs to get back in transition in the fourth and stop turning the ball over, or this'll suddenly look like a short series.

Third quarter, 2:00, Miami 67-64: This has generally been the time this postseason when the Heat take over. And it looks that way right now — a 6-1 run on a string of turnovers by Dallas and fast-break points from Wade and Miami.

Third quarter, 4:33, Dallas 63-61: Shawn Marion is embarrassing LeBron — 10 points in the third quarter alone (16 total on 7-of-11 shooting).

Third quarter, 5:49, Miami 60-59: It's been the Wade and Bosh show for Miami — 20 and 22 points, respectively. On the other end, Dirk continues to struggle, now 4-of-11 from the floor for 10 points, and Jason Kidd is doing his best disappearing act (0 points, four turnovers).

Third quarter, 8:05, Dallas 55-53: Dallas has been trading heroes tonight (good sign) — It's been Shawn Marion this half, who's now got 12 on the game and is Dallas' leading scorer.

Third quarter, 9:24, Dallas 51-49: Developing foul trouble for Miami – LeBron picks up his third foul (Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem also have three).

End of first half, Miami 47-45: So Dirk has a fever of 101 degrees. That might explain the eight points he scored in the first half.

End of first half, Miami 47-45: Dominant play from Chris Bosh (16 points on 8-of-12 shooting) and a mistake-ridden performance from Dallas tell the tale of the score. Fortunately for the Mavs, Dirk (8), DeShawn Stevenson (11) and Jason Terry (9) shared scoring runs to keep it close.

Second quarter, 1:00, Miami 45-43: Bosh continues to dominate, now with 16 points in the first half.

Second quarter, 2:04, Dallas 42-40: Dallas follows great defense with terrible defense, allowing easy buckets for Joel Anthony and Wade.

Second quarter, 4:04, Dallas 38-34: Seems like whichever team wins the hustle competition goes on a run — nine unanswered points for Dallas on stifling defense that led to three quick turnovers by Miami.

Second quarter, 6:14, Miami 34-32: DeShawn Stevenson should maybe come off the bench every night. Three triples and lock-down defense.

Second quarter, 6:50, Miami 34-29: Gotta say it: The refs aren't giving Dirk any of the star-protection that LeBron and Wade get. He was hammered on two straight trips up the floor — nothing.

Second quarter, 10:50, Miami 28-21: 7-0 Heat run to begin the quarter, including a foreboding triple from Mike Miller. Barea, for one, needs to stop missing layups (two in the last 5 minutes of play). Put the ball in Dirk's hands. He's barely touched it since a 3-3 start in the first 2 minutes of the game.

Second quarter, 11:05, Miami 25-21: Brendan Haywood is simply not healthy enough to keep up with Bosh, who now has four straight points to begin the second period.

End of first quarter, Tied 21-21: Dirk started strong for Dallas (six straight points), followed by a run for Jason Terry (seven points), but those efforts were canceled by errors. Despite holding the Heat to 29 percent shooting, the Mavs committed five turnovers and conceded nine offensive boards. Thus the tie game.

First quarter, 0:20, Miami 21-19: Refs are starting to impose their will. LeBron commits an obvious flop, ref calls it a foul, then T's up Rick Carlisle for complaining about it. It's a three-point swing (and probably more, because the shot clock was about to expire on LeBron before the flop).

First quarter, 1:42, Dallas 19-16: Terry's the game's leading scorer (7).

First quarter, 2:28, Dallas 17-16: Jason Terry has responded to the criticism thus far, scoring five (2-of-2 shooting) with an assist in just 4 minutes of play.

First quarter, 3:47, Dallas 14-12: Offensive rebound count for Miami is now nine. They're on pace for 48 of 'em, and it's costing the Mavericks what should be a big lead.

First quarter, 5:51, Tied 8-8: Another offensive rebound leads to a lay-up for Dwyane Wade. Otherwise, Bosh has scored all of Miami's points. Dallas has now given up seven offensive boards and three turnovers in the first 6 minutes.

First quarter, 8:00, Dallas 6-4: Back to the stupid mistakes for the Mavericks — they've given up four offensive rebounds and two turnovers. Even Dirk's not good enough to overcome that type of play.

First quarter, 11:02, Dallas 6-0: Dirk hits three straight fallaway jumpers, and Jason Kidd blocks Chris Bosh — that's a good start.

9:04 p.m.: If you're wondering why J.J. Barea is starting in place of DeShawn Stevenson, Dallas' coaches think it'll help him to get going (he's shooting just 22 percent from the field for the series).

8:30 p.m.: Thirty minutes 'til tip-off. Completely premature food for thought in the meantime: If the Heat go on to win this series, should Dirk Nowitzki still take the MVP Award?

9 a.m.: If Game 4 of the NBA Finals goes anything like the prior two, chances are it'll come down to a final shot.

"It's a possession series," Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Sunday night after his club's 88-86 win in Game 3. "So many different things could happen during the course of the game. Make here, a miss here, a rebound here, a loose ball there, that can change the complexion of it."

In Game 3, Dirk Nowitzki, who had nearly single-handedly willed his Dallas Mavericks to within striking distance (scoring the team's final 12 points), caromed a last-second attempt to tie the game off the back of the rim.

Three nights before that, Dwyane Wade missed his final shot, capping off an incredible comeback by the Mavs.

Yes, it's been a series of runs, and Dallas, behind 2-1, is desperate for one Tuesday night. They'll need to limit the turnovers (32 in the last two games) and get Jason Terry back on track. With the larger LeBron James covering him, the former Sixth Man of the Year disappeared down the stretch Sunday, finishing the night a miserable 5-of-13 from the floor (0-for-4 in the fourth quarter), prompting even Nowitzki to call out his teammate.

"Jet hasn't really been a crunch-time, clutch player for us the way we need him to," the German said after the game.

Terry, for his part, has suggested he doesn't think LeBron can stay with him for seven games, noting, "If I get those same shots in Game 4, I bet I make them."

He and the Mavericks better hope so, or they'll find themselves where Boston and Chicago did — down 3-1.

Tip-off is 9 p.m. Tuesday. Check back here for the live blog.

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