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Wade saves Miami's season

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The Associated Press
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade goes up for a shot against Dallas Mavericks center Dirk Nowitzki in the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball finals in Miami, Tuesday. The Heat defeated the Mavericks 98-96.

By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer

MIAMI — With just one tick left on the clock, Dwyane Wade tipped away Dallas’ final, futile attempt.
Of course he did. On this night, there wasn’t anything stopping him.
Wade, plagued by foul trouble and slowed by a sore left knee, scored 42 points — 15 in the fourth quarter — to rally the Miami Heat to a 98-96 win over the Mavericks on Tuesday night in Game 3 of an NBA finals that seemed to be over with 6:34 remaining.
That’s when Dallas had a 13-point lead and appeared to be on its way to a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Wade had other ideas.
“At that moment, I was looking up at the score thinking, ‘No, I ain’t going out like this.’ We didn’t want to go down 3-0, man. You just try to do what you can to help get your team get over the hump.”
Consider it cleared.
Oh, and Game 5? Drop the if. It’s necessary.
Showing off his full offensive arsenal in the biggest game of his young career, Wade single-handedly saved Miami’s season. Despite picking up his fifth personal foul with 10:56 to play, Wade kept himself on the floor and kept the Heat in the series.
“As a team, we just came out and said this could be the season if they win this game,” Wade said. “We came out, ran our offense to the crisp, locked down on defense and came back and won this game.”
Dallas still had plenty of chances late, but Dirk Nowitzki missed one of two free throws with 3.4 seconds to go and the Mavericks couldn’t convert on an inbounds play in the final second thanks to Wade.
“I had a chance to tie it, I just missed the free throw,” Nowitzki said. “That’s just a free throw I usually make. I don’t know what happened. I just shot it a little strong.”
When the final horn sounded, Heat fans simultaneously exhausted and exhilarated, tossed their “White Hot” white T-shirts and seat covers into the air, a celebration that seemed unimaginable just a few minutes earlier.
Now, after watching Wade’s heroics, Shaquille O’Neal and Udonis Haslem make four crucial free throws in the final two minutes and the second-largest fourth-quarter rally in NBA finals history, they’re coming back for Game 4 on Thursday.
“We had 21/2 horrible games and now we can use this momentum and pick it up and just try to win four,” said O’Neal, who had 16 points and 11 rebounds, atoning for a miserable five-point performance in Game 2.
Miami was down and almost done after Jason Terry’s basket made it 89-76 with 6:34 remaining.
That’s when Wade, conjuring memories of Michael Jordan’s playoff miracles, took over.
First, he banked in a 14-foot jumper. Then he completed a three-point play and drilled a 17-footer to bring the Heat within five. Then, after a miss by Nowitzki, Wade drove the baseline, hung in the air for what seemed like an eternity, adjusted the ball in flight and hit a floater to make it 91-88 with 3:36 to go.
Dallas, meanwhile, which had shown so much poise through 31/2 quarters, was coming apart. They rushed shots, missed others and blew a game they may later regret giving away.
“This is a team that detests losing,” Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. “We don’t like losing anything.”
Nowitzki’s two free throws slowed Miami for a moment, but O’Neal, whose abysmal foul shooting had contributed to Miami’s 0-2 deficit in the series, calmly spun in two attempts to pull the Heat within 93-90.
What was he thinking?
“Make ‘em,” he said.
Wade’s 20-foot jumper got Miami within a point, and Haslem came up with perhaps the play of the game not made by Wade, picking off a pass intended for Nowitzki. Haslem, playing with a badly bruised shoulder suffered in Game 2, was fouled and the Heat’s toughest player made both attempts after firing bricks on his first four tries.
“It was tough just to get my arm over my head,” Haslem said.
Then, with the game tied, Payton, the defensive specialist coach Pat Riley brought in this season, knocked down a 21-foot jumper — on his first shot of the night and just his second field goal of the series.
“He stepped up,” Wade said.
Nowitzki, who finished with 30 points, was fouled trying to answer Payton’s shot with a drive to the hoop. At that point, he was 25-of-27 from the line in the series, but could only make the first. When he misfired on the second, he triggered a roar inside AmericanAirlines Arena that could be heard back in Dallas.
The Mavericks appeared on their way when they outscored the Heat 34-16 in the third quarter to open a 77-68 lead entering the final 12 minutes.
Josh Howard scored 21 points for Dallas, which came in 25-0 in games in which he scores at least 20. Erick Dampier added 14 points and Jerry Stackhouse, who had 19 in Game 2, managed just four points on 1-of-9 shooting.
“We definitely feel like we gave this game away,” Stackhouse said.
Notes: In his final pregame blog, Dallas owner Mark Cuban grumbled about South Florida’s oppressive humidity — “I promise never to complain about the weather in Dallas again. Dang.” ... Security officials escorted a woman from the Dallas locker room after she gained access to the shower area following the game. ... No respect or wishful thinking? On a ticket request form on a table in Dallas’ locker room, someone spelled Nowitzki’s name, “Nowinski.” ... Riley didn’t condone O’Neal’s decision not to speak after Game 2, which also drew the Heat an NBA-imposed $25,000 penalty. “I think it’s something he needs to do and live up to his obligations,” Riley said. ... Funny sign: “The Only Cuban Not Welcome in Miami Is Mark Cuban.”

 

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Redick remorse following arrest

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — J.J. Redick was apologetic after he was arrested on charges of drunken driving. His coach also defended him as “a credit to the Duke basketball family.”
Redick made a mistake, and he’s prepared to face the consequences.
“I regret what happened last night and want to apologize to my family and the Duke community for the incident,” Redick said Tuesday in a statement issued by the university.
The AP Player of the Year was also charged with unlawful use of highways for making an illegal U-turn when he was arrested early Tuesday.
Redick, who has a Virginia driver’s license, lost his driving privileges in North Carolina for 30 days, police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said.

 

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This is the easy part for Woods

By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer

MAMARONECK — There was a time this spring when Tiger Woods went an entire month without touching a golf club.
The thought of playing 18 holes, or even lining up a putt on the practice green, was out of the question. Everything associated with golf reminded him of his father, who was no longer there to share his love of the game.
After Woods finished tied for third at the Masters in April, he left the PGA Tour to be with his ailing dad. Earl Woods died of cancer on May 3, leaving Tiger in no mood to dabble in the sport that bonded father and son for more than 25 years.
“I really had no desire to get back to the game of golf because of all the memories,” Woods said Tuesday at Winged Foot, where he will seek to win his third U.S. Open.
When he finally decided to pull his clubs out of the closet last month, Woods found that the time he spent with his father was something to savor.

 

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