Dallas Mavericks are champions; Nowitzki is MVP
Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks holds up the Larry O'Brien trophy as he celebrates with his teamates and team owner Mark Cuban aftre the Mavericks won 105-95 against the Miami Heat in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. / Getty Images
MIAMI - The Dallas Mavericks and German star Dirk Nowitzki won their long-awaited first NBA title on Sunday, taking revenge on the Miami Heat by beating them 105-95 on their home court in Game 6 of the NBA finals.
Jason Terry scored 27 points and Nowitzki added 21 for the Mavericks, who won four of the series' last five games, a turnabout that could not have been sweeter after seeing the Heat win their first title in Dallas in Game 6 of the 2006 finals.
"Tonight," Terry said, "we got vindication."
LeBron James scored 21 for Miami, although was largely quiet after the opening minutes. Chris Bosh had 19, Mario Chalmers 18 and Dwyane Wade 17 for the Heat.
James, who will have to wait another year for a chance at his first NBA title, shook a few hands after the game and departed before most of the Mavs had put on their championship hats and T-shirts.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle joined a highly elite group - those with NBA titles as both a player and a head coach.
Only 10 other men are on that list, including Lakers coach Phil Jackson and Heat President Pat Riley - who led Miami past Dallas in 2006 and was the mastermind of what the Heat did last summer by getting James, Wade and Bosh on the same team with an eye on becoming a dynasty.
But after 72 wins this season, including playoffs, the Heat lost their last game. And that means this year was a disappointment - except to just about everyone else in the NBA, or so it would seem.
Hating the Heat became the NBA's craze this season, and the team knew it had no shortage of critics, everyone from Cleveland (where "Cavs for Mavs" shirts were popular during these finals) to Chicago (the city James and Wade both flirted with last summer) and just about every place in between lining up to take shots at Miami.
Dallas took control in the second half of Sunday's game after some wild momentum shifts in the opening two quarters. Miami took its last lead of the game just 64 seconds into the second half, lost it 16 seconds later and chased the Mavericks the rest of the way.
Nowitzki sealed the win with 2:27 left, hitting a jumper near the Miami bench to put Dallas up 99-89. Nowitzki walked to the Mavs' side slowly, right fist clenched above his head.
Dirk Nowitzki has been named Most Valuable Player of the NBA finals for his huge role in leading the Dallas Mavericks to their first championship.
Although the German star struggled in the Mavericks' Game 6 victory on Sunday, he certainly put them in position to win it all, overcoming injury and illness to power fourth-quarter comebacks from deficits of 12, nine and four points in Dallas' previous wins.
Nowitzki won Game 2 with a left-handed layup despite having torn a tendon in his left middle finger in Game 1.
He scored 10 of his 21 points in the final period of Game 4 despite playing with a fever because of a sinus infection.
And in Game 5, his driving dunk in the final minutes put Dallas ahead for good.