DALLAS - The passes were on target, the shots were falling, and the defense made things tough on the other guys. The Dallas Mavericks played their best stretch of the NBA Finals at the end of Game 2, pulling off a rally that reshaped the series.
Now they have to try to keep it going.
The Mavs go into Game 3 on Sunday night feeling good about themselves because of the way the last game ended and because they will be back home. They also know that to win their first NBA title, they're going to have to play more like they did down the stretch of the last game, and less like they did in the 71/2 quarters that preceded it.
"We just can't let up," Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki said Saturday. "We're not good enough to just relax. We need to play with an edge."
Although the series is tied, 1-1, the Heat have been the better team for longer stretches.
Take it quarter by quarter. Dallas has won only two of the eight: by 17-16 in an ugly first period of the first game, and by 24-18 in their glorious finish to Game 2.
Check out the biggest leads for each team. Miami was up by 12 in the opener and 15 before its collapse in Game 2. The Mavericks' widest advantage in either game was nine.
Then there are the bad habits Dallas has gotten into in each game. In the opener, it was watching the Heat grab 16 of their misses, leading to them taking 13 more shots than the Mavs. Dallas cleaned that up in Game 2, only to spring another leak with 20 turnovers; Miami turned them into 31 points.
"It's very unusual to win a game the way we did in Game 2," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "That kind of template is not going to hold up in this series long term. We know that."