Editor’s note: Tuesday is the fifth anniversary of Game 4 of the 2011 NBA Finals, aka Dirk Nowitzki’s “Fever Game.” Relive the chills (but not Dirk’s) as we republish Eddie Sefko’s recap of the pivotal Mavericks win that tied the Finals at 2 2.
In pulse pounding fashion, the Mavericks are back in the NBA Finals in a big way.
With Dirk Nowitzki wheezing with a 101 degree temperature, he put his head down and charged to the basket for a game swaying layup with 14.4 seconds left, and the Mavericks held on for an 86 83 victory over the Miami Heat jersey cheap on Tuesday night in Game 4.
Jason Terry contributed 17 points, and he and Nowitzki outscored the Heat, 18 14, in the fourth quarter, when the Mavericks overcame a nine point deficit with their defense turned up to red line levels.
The series now is 2 2, and Game 5 the last one this season at American Airlines Center is Thursday.
Mavericks officials were calling Nowitzki’s play 21 points and 11 rebounds in 39 minutes heroic. After the game, he could barely speak without coughing or sniffling.
“This is the Finals,” Nowitzki said. “You’re going to leave it out there.”
Fortunately, Nowitzki didn’t leave “it” out there.
He battled through the fever and sinus problems, and as promised, he got a little help from his friends.
It was Terry who made the two free throws with 6.7 seconds left, restoring the three point lead that was cut to 84 83 when Dwyane Wade got loose for a dunk moments before.
It was Terry who promised to give Nowitzki some offensive help, and he came through, as did DeShawn Stevenson, who lost his starting job but responded with 11 points and hard nosed defense.
“One thing you’ve seen in this series is that nobody’s ever safe,” said Miami’s Wade, who had 32 points and six rebounds.
The Heat, however, got only eight points from LeBron James (Chris Bosh had 24 points), and the Mavericks’ defense was as good as it’s ever been in the fourth quarter.
The Mavericks won despite shooting just 39.7 percent from the field.
They were down, 74 65, with 10:11 to go. Terry started the rally with two buckets.
On a huge defensive sequence, the Mavericks held Wholesale NBA Jerseys
the Heat scoreless on eight consecutive possessions to pull in front, 82 78, with 2:16 left on two Nowitzki free throws.
The Heat got it back to 82 81, but Wade then missed the second of two free throws with 30.1 seconds left. That set up Nowitzki, who milked the clock, then made a spin move and coaxed in a layup as he wheeled around Udonis Haslem, much the way he did on the game winning shot in Game 2.