MIAMI — Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks put a stunning end to their misery in Miami.
Now they can win their first NBA title without ever coming back to South Florida.
Nowitzki made the tie-breaking layup with 3.6 seconds left, and the Mavericks roared back from 15 points down in the fourth quarter to beat the Heat 95-93 on Thursday night and tie the NBA finals at one game apiece.
Capping a furious rally by scoring Dallas’ final nine points, Nowitzki’s final two baskets were lefthanded — despite a torn tendon on that non-shooting hand. He finished with 24 points.
Dwyane Wade had 36 points for Miami, but his desperation 3-pointer was off at the buzzer.
Game 3 is Sunday in Dallas.
Seemingly out of the game when the Heat led 88-73 with 7:15 remaining, Dallas held the Heat to just one field goal from there, a 3-pointer by Mario Chalmers with 24.5 seconds that tied it just 2 seconds after Nowitzki’s 3 had made it 93-90.
But after a timeout, Jason Kidd ran the clock down before getting the ball to Nowitzki, who drove into the lane, spun back to the left and made the layup.
Jason Terry, largely silent since the first half of Game 1, fueled the comeback with a couple of jumpers and finished with 16 points. Shawn Marion had 20 points for the Mavericks, who had lost four straight finals games in Miami since taking a 2-0 lead in the 2006 series.
They were about to go down 2-0 this time before Nowitzki, who insisted his injured finger wouldn’t hinder him, led a rally even more amazing than the one that won Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, when the Mavs trailed Oklahoma City by 15 in the fourth quarter before pulling it out in overtime.
LeBron James scored 20 points for the Heat.