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NBA Finals Notebook: Game 3

By STEPHEN HAWKINS AP Sports Writer
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DALLAS (AP) - The backup for the Dallas Mavericks’ backup center got into quick foul trouble in Game 3 of the NBA finals against the Miami Heat.

With 7-foot Brendan Haywood out because of a strained right hip flexor, Ian Mahinmi came off the bench with 2:25 left in the first quarter. He played 5 1/2 minutes before going to the bench with three fouls and didn’t return until 1:23 remained in the third quarter.

He got his fourth foul only 6 seconds later, and his fifth foul in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, and didn’t play any more.

115268835 NBA Finals Notebook: Game 3

“Not having Haywood was, you know, it made it tougher for us because he’s a regular rotation guy,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I thought Mahinmi’s energy was good. At times maybe a little too energetic, but that was expected.”

Even though the Mavericks had a 42-36 rebounding edge, Miami outscored Dallas 40-22 in the paint and went on to an 88-86 win Sunday night for a 2-1 series lead.

“We always miss Haywood,” Jason Kidd said. “He’s a guy that changes shots and rebounds, and also can score on offensive end.”

Haywood came out of Game 2 early in the fourth quarter Thursday night. His status for Game 4 on Tuesday night is uncertain.

“He’s been doing better,” Carlisle said. “We’ll see where we’re at.”

The game was tied 22-all late in the first quarter before LeBron James got by Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion, then had a powerful one-handed slam dunk over Mahinmi. That was the first of 12 straight points by the Heat.

With Haywood out, it was important for starting center Tyson Chandler to stay out of foul trouble. He did, with only two fouls in 40 minutes though he seemed to be tentative at times knowing he needed to stay on the floor. Chandler finished with five points and 11 rebounds.

Mahinmi played eight minutes, two more than he had combined in his three appearances the Mavericks’ first 17 playoff games. He made two free throws, missed his only shot and had one rebounds to go with his five fouls.

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HEAT SIX MONTHS AGO: After Miami’s only game in Dallas during the regular season the weekend after Thanksgiving, the Heat held a players-only meeting. They had fallen 106-95, their fourth loss in five games, and were a disappointing 9-8 overall.

“It’s tough because I know the potential of this team, the vision I had when this team was put together,” Dwyane Wade said that night, when finally arriving in the interview room with James about 45 minutes after the game.

Well, the Heat won 12 in a row after that and 21 of 22.

And they’re back in Dallas for the NBA finals with a 2-1 series lead after Wade (29 points), James (17) and Dallas native Chris Bosh (18) combined for 64 of Miami’s points in an 88-86 win Sunday night.

Bosh, who took an inadvertent finger to his left eye early in the game made the eventual game-winning 16-footer with 39 seconds left in his first NBA victory in his hometown.

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SECOND TIME AROUND: When the Dallas Mavericks last played an NBA finals game at home five years ago, the only current players on that roster were Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry.

In that 2006 series, also against the Miami Heat, the Mavericks hosted the first two games at home. They won both to take a 2-0 series lead before losing all three games in Miami and then the Game 6 clincher in Dallas.

“Our goal was to win it all since the last couple of years,” Nowitzki said.

Nowitzki had 34 points in Game 3, but his 16-footer at the buzzer missed in an 88-86 loss.

While Nowitzki has spent all 13 of his NBA seasons in Dallas, 12-season vet Terry has been with the Mavericks only seven years. Terry describes their relationship now as “brotherly,” though he was in a unique situation with the big German first arrived.

“It’s something that has grown, through our tough times we have grown closer together,” Terry said. “Obviously when I first came here, I was supposed to be the one replacing his best friend, Steve Nash. A lot was made of that. All in all, we’ve come and grown together.

“Obviously, our chemistry on the court while we’re playing is tremendous. It’s what fuels this team, and then off the court, it’s genuine. We’re always honest and upfront with each other. And that’s why I say it’s like a brothership.”

Terry had 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting Sunday night.

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WILKENS WINS: Lenny Wilkens, one of only three people inducted to the Hall of Fame as both a player and coach, was honored with the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award is given by the National Basketball Coaches Association, of which Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is the president, and named for the longtime Detroit Pistons coach.

Carlisle made the presentation at a press conference before the game that was attended by Wilkens’ friend, Heat president Pat Riley.

Wilkens is second in victories among NBA coaches and is the only person on the list of top 50 players and top 10 coaches. The point guard coached the Seattle SuperSonics to their lone NBA title in 1979.

He also spent 17 years as president of the National Basketball Coaches Association, with Carlisle saying he was a mentor to many coaches.

John Wooden and Bill Sharman are the others with dual Hall of Fame inductions. Wilkens was actually inducted a third time last summer when the 1992 Dream Team was enshrined. He was an assistant to Daly on that team.

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FREE THROWS: During one timeout before halftime, a video was shown that included a montage of several Dallas sports standouts prompting the crowd with the Mavericks’ slogan “The Time Is Now.” Included were NFL career rushing leader Emmitt Smith and Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman, who won three Super Bowls with the Cowboys, Texas Rangers president and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan and Mike Modano, who won a Stanley Cup with the Stars. … Just before starting introductions, Mavericks fans cheered loudly when on the overhead video screen a man holding a sign that red “Mavs — Do It For Cleveland Too” was shown. … As he does often before Mavericks games, owner Mark Cuban was on the main court about three hours before tipoff of Game 3 of the NBA finals shooting jumpers and free throws. … This is the 12th time the Mavericks have split the first two games of a best-of-7 playoff series. They went on to win six of the previous 11 series.

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AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney contributed to this report.

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

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