MIAMI (AP) For Dirk Nowitzki, the resume is complete. He’s an NBA champion.
For LeBron James, the agonizing wait continues for at least one more year.
A season that began with Miami celebrating the signings of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh – along with the promise of championships – ended on the very same floor, with the Dallas Mavericks hoisting the title trophy for the first time in their franchise history after beating the Heat 105-95 on Sunday night. The Mavericks won four of the series’ last five games, a turnabout that could not have been sweeter.
“I really still can’t believe it,” said Nowitzki, who had 21 points and took home finals MVP honors.
He and Jason Terry, who led the Mavs with 27 points, were the two remaining players from the Dallas team that lost to Miami in the 2006 finals.
“Tonight,” Terry said, “we got vindication.”
James did not. Not even close, and a year unlike any other ended they way they all have so far – with him still waiting for an NBA title.
He scored 21 points for Miami, shook a few hands afterward, and departed before most of the Mavs tugged on their championship hats and T-shirts. Bosh had 19, Mario Chalmers 18 and Wade 17 for the Heat.
“We worked so hard and so long for it,” Nowitzki said. “The team has had an unbelievable ride.”
So did the Heat. Unlike Dallas, theirs wasn’t a joyride.
“It goes without saying,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You’re never really prepared for a moment like this. … Neither team deserved this championship more than the other, but Dallas earned it.”
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