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NBA  FINAL            1ST  2ND  3RD  4TH  TOTAL
                      ---  ---  ---  ---  -----
     MIAMI            24   25   19   24    92   
     DALLAS           26   16   24   32    98      FINAL

HIGH SCORERS:   MIA - TRAVIS BEST 21, CARON BUTLER 14, EDDIE 
                      HOUSE 13
                DAL - DIRK NOWITZKI 25, STEVE NASH 19, TWO 
                      PLAYERS WITH 17

HIGH REBOUND:   MIA - VLADIMIR STEPANIA 14, BRIAN GRANT 11, 
                      CARON BUTLER 9
                DAL - DIRK NOWITZKI 12, MICHAEL FINLEY 7, 
                      EDUARDO NAJERA 6

HIGH ASSISTS:   MIA - TRAVIS BEST 8, MIKE JAMES 7, TWO PLAYERS
                      WITH 2
                DAL - DIRK NOWITZKI 8, STEVE NASH 4, NICK VAN 
                      EXEL 2

         ATT:   20,003

Box Score

MIAMI (92) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp C Butler 39 4-15 5-5 3-9 1 5 14 M Allen 28 3-9 0-1 2-6 1 3 6 B Grant 25 2-7 0-0 3-11 2 6 4 T Best 37 7-13 3-3 1-3 8 3 21 E House 30 6-15 0-0 1-3 2 4 13 M James 29 3-9 0-0 1-3 7 3 6 V Stepania 21 4-6 0-2 5-14 0 4 8 L Ellis 21 4-12 0-0 2-4 0 4 10 R Butler 10 3-4 2-2 1-2 1 1 10 E Jones DNP - STRAINED LEFT GROIN A Carter DNP - TENDINITIS, LEFT KNEE S Marks DNP - COACH'S DECISION _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 36-90 10-13 19-55 22 33 92 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.400, FT-.769. 3-Point Goals: 10-20, .500 (C Butler 1-1, T Best 4-6, E House 1-1, M James 0-3, L Ellis 2-7, R Butler 2-2). Team Rebounds: 7. Blocked Shots:2 (R Butler 2). Turnovers:15 (B Grant 3, T Best 3, E House 3, C Butler 3, M James 2, M Allen). Steals: 2 (B Grant, C Butler). DALLAS (98) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp E Najera 22 4-6 1-2 2-6 1 2 9 D Nowitzki 44 7-20 10-11 1-12 8 5 25 R LaFrentz 20 3-6 0-0 0-3 1 3 6 M Finley 42 5-14 6-8 2-7 1 0 17 S Nash 40 6-12 4-4 0-1 4 1 19 S Bradley 15 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 1 0 N Van Exel 30 5-9 7-9 0-5 2 2 17 R Bell 13 0-2 0-0 1-1 1 2 0 E Eschmeyer 5 1-1 0-0 0-1 0 2 2 A Griffin 4 0-1 3-4 0-1 0 0 3 W Williams 5 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 A Rigaudeau DNP - COACH'S DECISION _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 31-73 31-38 6-38 18 18 98 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.425, FT-.816. 3-Point Goals: 5-15, .333 (D Nowitzki 1-5, R LaFrentz 0-1, M Finley 1-4, S Nash 3-4, N Van Exel 0-1). Team Rebounds: 6. Blocked Shots:7 (R LaFrentz 2, D Nowitzki 2, S Nash, M Finley, E Eschmeyer). Turnovers:5 (D Nowitzki 2, S Nash, M Finley, E Najera). Steals: 6 (S Nash 2, R Bell 2, D Nowitzki, M Finley). ------------------------------------------- MIAMI 24 25 19 24 - 92 DALLAS 26 16 24 32 - 98 ------------------------------------------- Technical fouls: Miami - 1 (COACH Riley, 1:21 3rd). Dallas - 1 (R Bell, 2:40 3rd). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 20,003. T: 2:19. Officials: Anthony Jordan, George Toliver, Mike Callahan.


Extended Box

MIAMI (92) AT DALLAS (98) MIAMI REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == === C BUTLER F 39 4-15 5-5 3 6 9 1 5 1 3 14 M ALLEN F 28 3-9 0-1 2 4 6 1 3 0 1 6 B GRANT C 25 2-7 0-0 3 8 11 2 6 1 3 4 T BEST G 37 7-13 3-3 1 2 3 8 3 0 3 21 E HOUSE G 30 6-15 0-0 1 2 3 2 4 0 3 13 M JAMES 29 3-9 0-0 1 2 3 7 3 0 2 6 V STEPANIA 21 4-6 0-2 5 9 14 0 4 0 0 8 L ELLIS 21 4-12 0-0 2 2 4 0 4 0 0 10 R BUTLER 10 3-4 2-2 1 1 2 1 1 0 0 10 E JONES DNP - STRAINED LEFT GROIN A CARTER DNP - TENDINITIS, LEFT KNEE S MARKS DNP - COACH'S DECISION TOTALS 240 36-90 10-13 19 36 55 22 33 2 15 92 (.400) (.769) TEAM REBS: 7 TOTAL TO: 16 (24 PTS) DALLAS REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == === E NAJERA F 22 4-6 1-2 2 4 6 1 2 0 1 9 D NOWITZKI F 44 7-20 10-11 1 11 12 8 5 1 2 25 R LAFRENTZ C 20 3-6 0-0 0 3 3 1 3 0 0 6 M FINLEY G 42 5-14 6-8 2 5 7 1 0 1 1 17 S NASH G 40 6-12 4-4 0 1 1 4 1 2 1 19 S BRADLEY 15 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 N VAN EXEL 30 5-9 7-9 0 5 5 2 2 0 0 17 R BELL 13 0-2 0-0 1 0 1 1 2 2 0 0 E ESCHMEYER 5 1-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 2 0 0 2 A GRIFFIN 4 0-1 3-4 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 3 W WILLIAMS 5 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 A RIGAUDEAU DNP - COACH'S DECISION TOTALS 240 31-73 31-38 6 32 38 18 18 6 5 98 (.425) (.816) TEAM REBS: 6 TOTAL TO: 5 (2 PTS) MIAMI 24 25 19 24 - 92 DALLAS 26 16 24 32 - 98 BLOCKED SHOTS: MIAMI - R BUTLER 2. DALLAS - R LAFRENTZ 2, D NOWITZKI 2, S NASH, M FINLEY, E ESCHMEYER. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: MIAMI 10-20 (.500), C BUTLER 1-1, T BEST 4-6, E HOUSE 1- 1, M JAMES 0-3, L ELLIS 2-7, R BUTLER 2-2. DALLAS 5-15 (.333), D NOWITZKI 1- 5, R LAFRENTZ 0-1, M FINLEY 1-4, S NASH 3-4, N VAN EXEL 0-1. TECHNICAL FOULS: MIAMI - COACH RILEY. DALLAS - R BELL. FLAGRANT FOULS: NONE. OFFICIALS: ANTHONY JORDAN, GEORGE TOLIVER, MIKE CALLAHAN. A - 20,003. T - 2:19.


Game Story

DALLAS (Ticker) -- With Dirk Nowitzki struggling with his shot, Nick Van Exel and Eduardo Najera picked up the slack. Van Exel and Najera led a fourth-quarter surge as the Dallas Mavericks rallied for a 98-92 victory over the Miami Heat, their league-leading 40th win. Nowitzki had a solid all-around game with 25 points, 12 rebounds and a season-high eight assists. But the All-Star forward made just 7-of-20 shots from the field, missing 11 of 12 at one point. With Nowitzki off the mark and Dallas getting pounded on the boards, Miami opened a 12-point lead late in the second quarter. The Heat still held a 73-68 advantage with 10 1/2 minutes to go before Van Exel and Najera emerged. Van Exel scored eight of his 17 points in the final period. His leaner from the right baseline gave Dallas the lead for good at 74-73 with 9:26 to play. He made a running banker for a 90-85 edge with 44 seconds left, then added four free throws. "We dug deep and got stops when we needed stops and we executed in the half-court to pull out the victory," Van Exel said. "He started playing really well, and I love it when he's aggressive," Mavs coach Don Nelson said. "He really got a lot done for us. He's one of the few guys when on a roll that's hard to stop unless you double-team him. He's got all those moves and somehow finds cracks and seams and makes the defense pay." Najera scored seven of his nine points in the fourth quarter, most of them off hustle plays. He helped the Mavs match the energy of the Heat, who held a 55-38 advantage on the glass. "Slowly, it's coming back, my jumping ability," said Najera, who has been sidelined most of the season. "It's not like I was a high flier, but I've got to be able to come over the top of all these big guys." "He does all the little things," Nowitzki said. "He gets the loose balls, hustles and takes charges. He's a little undersized for a power forward, but he still gets it done. It's great to see him back." Steve Nash scored 19 points and Michael Finley added 17 for Dallas (40-12), which opened a three-game lead on Indiana in the race for the NBA's best record. Travis Best scored 21 points for Miami, which again played without injured leading scorer Eddie Jones and has lost five of its last seven games. Once again, the Heat were on the short end in foul shots, attempting 13 while the Mavs shot 38. "We couldn't overcome the free-throw discrepancy," said Heat coach Pat Riley, who was fined $20,000 for criticizing officials earlier in the week. "It's just too much to overcome. You have to hit home runs all the time." After Van Exel's basket, Finley made a 3-pointer to cap a 9-0 burst and open a 77-73 lead with 7:51 to play. A tip-in by Vladimir Stepania, who had 14 rebounds, cut the deficit to 79-78 before Nowitzki turned a lane jumper into a three-point play midway through the period. Miami's Mike James hit a jumper, but Nash drilled a 3-pointer and Najera sank a free throw for an 86-80 lead with 2:44 remaining. Best beat the shot clock with a long 3-pointer, but Nowitzki hit a foul-line jumper for an 88-83 lead with 1:09 left. Dallas shot just 42.5 percent (31-of-73) but committed just five turnovers while holding Miami to 40 percent (36-of-90) and forcing 16 turnovers. "Good teams are going to win even though they're not shooting well," Najera said. "I thought we did a good job down the stretch defensively." "In the fourth quarter, we had a little miscommunication a couple of times and they got some easy buckets," Best said. "Najera really hurt us, getting to the boards and doing the things he does - the dirty work, making plays around the basket." Rookie Caron Butler had 14 points and nine boards and Eddie House scored 13 points for the Heat, who have lost four of the last five meetings with the Mavs after winning 16 in a row. Miami held Dallas to one basket over 6 1/2 minutes, using a 14-2 run to take a 36-28 lead with 6:37 left in the second quarter. Butler scored five points in the surge. A jumper by Butler gave the Heat their largest lead at 49-37 before the Mavs scored the final five points of the half. They carried the surge into the third quarter and closed to 55-54 on a short jumper by Nash with 6 1/2 minutes to go before the Heat countered with a 7-0 spurt.


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