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Miami dominates Mavs late in Game 1 while ABC's commentators turn up the Heat throughout

WFAA8's Dale Hansen and Joe Trahan with new fill-in sports anchor Slappy Clownface Jr. during Tuesday's post-game show from Miami. Photo: Ed Bark

The Dallas Mavericks shot out to a 51-43 lead at the start of the third quarter, but a blood-draining three-pointer by LeBron James at the buzzer made it 65-61 in favor of Miami going into the 4th.

This would be the pattern for much of the night, with either James or running mate Dwyane Wade making big baskets or defensive plays at money time while Dirk Nowitzki withstood a hammering and put up 27 points without enough help from his rotating supporting cast. He probably could have gone to the foul line another half-dozen times, but made 12 of 12 while the referees at times watched him get slapped around.

Still, Nowitzki needed a Robin and instead got mostly Elmer Fudds. Jason Terry was worthless with a scoreless second half after a 12-point total in the first two quarters. He also committed a stupid foul after Dallas had closed to within six points with 1:36 still left in the game.

Meanwhile, Peja Stojakovic missed a trio of open three-pointers and did not score in the almost 15 minutes he was on the floor. Only Shawn Marion was of much help, leading the Mavs with 10 rebounds while also scoring 16 points.

But the Heat always had an equalizer in either James or Wade. And even on an off-night, Miami's third cog in its superstar wheel, Chris Bosh, outscored Marion and helped the Heat to dominate the boards all night.

The final 92-84 score was artificially close, with Dallas averting a double-digit loss when Jason Kidd hit a meaningless three-pointer with a few seconds left and Miami on cruise control.

The Heat, with its season-long notoriety, also dominated the verbiage unleashed by ABC's trio of play-by-play man Mike Breen and sparring analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson.

"Getting back to the struggles of the Heat," Jackson said during the second half when the talk briefly turned to actual game action. Later on, Van Gundy continued to defend James' move from Cleveland to Miami while Nowitzki made a strong move to the basket and scored amid three Heat defenders. After a while, it gets more than a little tiresome.

Breen, who interjected whenever he could, perhaps got a little rusty from inactivity during some of the late fourth quarter action. He first wrongly said that James had fouled Nowitzki, the Mavericks' far and away best shooter from the line. Then he corrected himself to say that Tyson Chandler, an average foul shooter, would be getting the free throws. Then he told viewers that "Marion misses" the first of two shots -- taken by Chandler. He finally got it right when Chandler made his second free throw.

Led by James and Wade, the Heat have become lethal game-closers during their playoff run. Even more so than the Mavericks, who on Tuesday night just couldn't stop Miami's two marquee stars when it mattered the most.

Nowitzki had a decent but not great game, even though his 27 points led all scorers. Others will have to answer the bell, though, or Dallas is doomed. All those Mavericks veterans without rings are going to fall short again unless they start delivering big-time in the clutch. That's exactly what the Heat's fearsome threesome did Tuesday night, with James, Wade and Bosh combining for 65 points and 28 rebounds.

A good number of those points came when the game was on the line. The Mavericks' mission: improbable is nowhere near mission: impossible yet. But these Miami SOBs are going to be damned tough to bring down.