Dallas wins series 4-3 (Game 5 of 7)

Dallas wins series 4-3

Game 1: Saturday, April 23rd
Game 2: Monday, April 25th
Game 3: Thursday, April 28th
Game 4: Saturday, April 30th
Game 5: Monday, May 2nd
Game 6: Thursday, May 5th
Game 7: Saturday, May 7th

Rockets 100

(51-31, 25-16 away)

Mavericks 103

(58-24, 29-12 home)

7:00 PM ET, May 2, 2005

American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

1 2 3 4 T
HOU 22 22 24 32100
DAL 24 28 24 27103

Top Performers

Hou: Y. Ming 30 Pts, 8 Reb, 3 Blk

Dal: D. Nowitzki 23 Pts, 13 Reb, 2 Ast, 4 Stl, 1 Blk

Mavs first to win at home in series

DALLAS (AP) -- With a chance to finally pull ahead in their first-round playoff series, the Dallas Mavericks refused to let anything stop them.

Not even the boundaries of the court.

Road team won first 4 games of series, NBA playoff history
Series Round Winner
'05 HOU vs. DAL 1st Round ?
'95 HOU vs. SA Conf. Finals HOU
'94 HOU vs. PHX Conf. Semis HOU
'93 LAL vs. PHX 1st Round PHX
'84 NJ vs. PHI 1st Round NJ
'69 SF vs. LA Div. Semis LA
'66 BOS vs. CIN Div. Semis BOS
'63 BOS vs. CIN Div. Finals BOS

The Mavs hustled at both ends of the floor to protect a shrinking lead in the fourth quarter of a 103-100 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday night, and in one key instance they got away with Michael Finley making a play from beyond the baseline.

Replays showed that Finley clearly had both feet out of bounds when he jarred a rebound from Houston's Jon Barry with just under a minute left. Officials didn't see that -- but they did see Barry foul Jerry Stackhouse after he grabbed the loose ball. He made both free throws to help Dallas pad a lead that wasn't secured until Tracy McGrady missed a long jumper at the buzzer.

Maybe it was just the home-court advantage finally paying off, as this was the first time this series that the local fans went home happy. It came at a perfect time for Dallas, which now has two chances to join the 1969 Lakers and '94 Rockets as the only teams to win a seven-game series after dropping the first two at home.

"Until you win the series, you don't have anything," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "We haven't accomplished a thing. We have nothing to be excited about."

The previous game in Dallas ended with McGrady making a long jumper in the closing seconds. This time, he missed two foul shots with 3.4 seconds left -- the second intentionally -- but got his own rebound and put up a 3-pointer from the left corner that could've tied it.

Although there might have been a question whether his toe was on the line, it didn't matter when the ball hit the iron and bounced away. McGrady ended up on the ground, practically under some courtside seats, perhaps lamenting another first-round bust. He's never advanced to the second round and now is in jeopardy of blowing a 2-0 lead for the second straight time.

This game was a different kind of disappointment. After blowing fourth-quarter leads of eight and six points the last two games, the Rockets trimmed an 11-point deficit to 102-100 with 7.4 seconds left but couldn't finish the comeback. They've lost three straight after winning nine in a row.

"It's tough," said McGrady, who struggled with his shot for the first time this series, shooting 7-of-22 and scoring 25 points, 6.5 less than he'd been averaging. He also had nine rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks.

"It's always something down the stretch," he said. "We do a good job of fighting back and getting ourselves into the ballgame. We just can't get over that hump."

Game 6 is Thursday night in Houston, and Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy may have more on the line than just trying to force a seventh game. He was fined $100,000 earlier Monday for accusing officials of targeting Yao Ming and refusing to tell the league which official was his source.

Commissioner David Stern, who coincidentally attended this game, called the largest fine ever levied against an NBA coach only "an intermediary step" and said an investigation will continue -- once the Rockets finish their playoff run. Stern even implied that Van Gundy could face a lifetime ban.

Van Gundy laughed off the entire case and Yao offered to pay half the fine.

Yao scored 15 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, making 6-of-7 shots and getting to the foul line on the one he missed. However, he was just 3-of-8 from the line in the period, with all five misses in a row. He also had four fouls, matching his fewest of the series. He didn't get his first until seconds into the second quarter and had just one in the second half.

"Maybe it was a little bit of exhaustion," he said of the missed foul shots.

The Mavericks never trailed in the second half and their biggest deficit was just one. But they allowed an 8-0 run that ended with a 3-pointer by Barry with 3:22 left that made this one interesting to the end.

The difference was Dallas' determination, best exemplified by two plays, starting with the one Finley got away with -- which, other than the location of his feet, his swat was similar to what Josh Howard did to McGrady in the closing seconds of Game 4.

"It's a shame," Barry said of the missed call. "Our whole bench saw it. What can you do?"

Asked whether he thought he was inbounds, Finley smirked and said, "I can't really remember."

After McGrady made a flying dunk to make it 102-100, the Mavs got away with a wild pass.

Marquis Daniels' inbounds lob to Jason Terry in the backcourt was nearly stolen, but Terry recovered and was fouled by Ryan Bowen. He made one of two shots, enough to change Houston's strategy in the closing seconds.

Nowitzki, stuck in a series-long shooting funk, was 9-of-22 shots but led Dallas with 23 points, including an important dunk off a miss by Terry with 20.2 seconds left. He also had 13 rebounds and four steals.

Terry, coming off a 32-point game, scored nine of his 13 in the final period, including a 29-footer. Stackhouse and Howard both scored 17 and Finley had 12.

Mike James scored 16 for Houston, while Bob Sura -- who missed a morning shootaround, instead getting an IV treatment at a hospital to help battle flu-like symptoms -- had seven points in 23 minutes.

Game notes

This was the first time this series that the team leading after one quarter won. It also was the first time the team with the most rebounds won. ... The Baylor Lady Bears national championship team was introduced during the first half and received a rousing ovation from a crowd of 20,894, setting a record for the largest in team history for a second straight game.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 100 103
FGM-FGA 33-67 (.493) 37-79 (.468)
3PM-3PA 5-13 (.385) 6-15 (.400)
FTM-FTA 29-40 (.725) 23-34 (.676)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-39 13-42
Assists 15 17
Turnovers 14 11
Steals 8 8
Blocks 6 3
Fast Break Points 15 19
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (0/0) 26 (0/0)
Largest Lead 1 11

Top Performers

Yao Ming Ming
Points: 30
Reb: 8
Ast: 0
Stl: 0
Blk: 3
Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
Points: 23
Reb: 13
Ast: 2
Stl: 4
Blk: 1