DALLAS (AP) — Dwyane Wade scored 19 points in another big performance in Dallas, powering the Miami Heat to a 47-42 lead over the Mavericks at halftime of Game 3 of the NBA finals on Sunday night.
Back on the floor where he celebrated an NBA title and captured the MVP award in 2006, Wade shot 8 of 13 from the field as Miami led by as many as 14 points.
After a late collapse Thursday cost them a 2-0 lead in the series, the Heat were in position to quickly regain control in what's been a pivotal game. In the 11 previous series that were tied 1-1, the Game 3 winner has won all of them since the 2-3-2 format was adopted.
LeBron James scored 10 points for the Heat, while Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry had 10 apiece for the Mavericks.
Dallas rallied from 15 points down in the final 7:14 of Game 2 to pull out a 95-93 victory on Nowitzki's layup with 3.6 seconds remaining, but the Heat were back to doing the things that worked so well for them through the first seven quarters of the series.
Creating turnovers that fueled their fast breaks, the Heat used a 9-2 run to seize a 45-31 lead with 3:03 remaining in the half. Wade scored the first seven points of that spurt, squeezing a 3-pointer in between two dunks.
But they got only two free throws from there, allowing Dallas to chip away.
Nearly all the fans were dressed in their traditional blue shirts for the game, and one got an extra cheer when she was shown on the overhead video board holding a sign reading "Mavs - Do It for Cleveland Too."
Though James was cast in a villain role around the NBA after his televised departure from the Cavaliers last summer, Wade is the real bad guy to the fans in Dallas. He even was booed last year at Cowboys Stadium during the All-Star game, and he drew the loudest boos when the Miami starters were announced.
Then the lights were dimmed, glow-in-the-dark Thundersticks were released from the rafters, and the volume went way up as Nowitzki and the Mavs were introduced.
Dallas got the early jump, opening a 14-9 lead on DeShawn Stevenson's 3-pointer with 7:36 remaining in the first quarter. Chris Bosh remained on the court during the play after getting poked in the eye by Jason Kidd on a drive, and eventually got up and went to the sideline with some noticeable swelling of his left eyelid.
Bosh, playing in his hometown, came back in and made consecutive Miami baskets, including a three-point play that tied it at 18.
The Mavs were playing without backup center Brendan Haywood because of a right hip flexor, and third stringer Ian Mahinmi quickly picked up three fouls.
The Heat contributed to their collapse in Game 2 by settling for too many deep jumpers late in the shot clock down the stretch, instead of James and Wade penetrating into the lane.
"The most important thing is we get back to our identity, which is to be an aggressive, attacking team," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before the game.
James vowed to be, having attempted only six free throws through the first two games, and he bulled his way to the rim on consecutive possessions in the final minute of the first quarter, throwing down a powerful dunk on the first and drawing a foul on the second. That gave the Heat a four-point lead, and Mario Chalmers tossed in a 36-footer at the buzzer to make it 29-22.
He made another 3-pointer to open the second, and Bosh followed with two free throws to make it 34-22.
Game 4 is Tuesday night.
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- Miami Heat
- Dwyane Wade
- Ian Mahinmi
- the Mavericks
- LeBron James
- Dirk Nowitzki
- Jason Terry
- DeShawn Stevenson
- Brendan Haywood