Mavericks Nearing Title After Beating Heat In Game 5

DALLAS (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks finally have the lead in these ultra-close NBA finals, and now it really is “now or never” for LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

Nowitzki scored 29 points, driving for the go-ahead dunk with 2:45 remaining, and the Mavericks beat the Heat 112-103 on Thursday night to take a 3-2 lead in the NBA finals.

Five years after going up 2-0 on the Heat, the Mavs finally got that elusive third victory, and can wrap up their first championship in Game 6 at Miami on Sunday night.

James, who called this game “now or never,” responded from his worst playoff performance with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, and Dwyane Wade battled through a sore left hip after a first-quarter collision to finish with 23 points.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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