Heat thwart Mavs' rally

MIAMI 88, DALLAS 86
Miami's Chris Bosh (right) made the key shot late to help send the Heat to a 2-1 finals lead.

DALLAS --- The Miami Heat didn't blow this one. Now they're just two wins from being crowned NBA champions.

Chris Bosh made a 16-foot, go-ahead jumper from the baseline with 39.6 seconds left and the Heat held on for an 88-86 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night for a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

Recent history says this is a huge win for the Heat. The Game 3 winner in a tied Finals has won the championship all 11 times since the 2-3-2 format began in 1985.

Miami got into this tight of a series by blowing a 15-point lead in the last quarter of Game 2. The Heat already had wasted a 14-point lead in this game when they went back ahead 81-75 with 6:31 left. They knew Dirk Nowitzki would drive Dallas' rally, but he burned them anyway for 12 consecutive points -- six free throws, a layup, a dunk and a tough jumper.

But after Bosh's clutch shot, Nowitzki's streak ran out. He tried passing out of a double team and threw the ball away, then hit the back iron on a jumper at the buzzer.

"This is a total win," said Dwyane Wade, who led Miami with 29 points and 11 rebounds. "You want to win the game on the defensive end of the floor and we got a stop."

The Heat go into Game 4 on Tuesday night with a chance to do what they did in 2006: win it all on Dallas' floor. They'll need to win that game and the next, on Thursday night.

Nowitzki finished with 34 points.

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