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Wade And Shaq lead Heat Tie Mavs with 98-74 Victory
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Dwyane Wade rose to the occasion again with 36 points and Shaquille O'Neal had a solid performance with 17 points and 13 rebounds Thursday evening when the Miami Heat downed the Dallas Mavericks 98-74 in the NBA Finals after four games.

O'Neal also was a dominant force in the middle and part of a Miami defense that suffocated Dirk Nowitzki into a 2-for-14 shooting night.

James Posey added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat, who limited Dallas to 31.6 percent shooting and an NBA Finals record-low seven points in the last quarter while the Heat shot 51.5 percent from the field.

Jason Terry scored 17 points for Dallas while Nowitzki had 16 points and nine rebounds. Jerry Stackhouse also scored 16 for the Mavs and was the centerpiece of a rough foul on O'Neal in the third.

The Heat were coming off a 98-96 victory at home on Tuesday behind 42 points and 13 rebounds from Wade, and now the Heat have a chance to move ahead in the series between the two first-time participants in the NBA Finals.

The Heat were in front 68-51 at that juncture. Miami's Antoine Walker received a technical foul for arguing and Stackhouse hit the free throw with 6:29 left. However, O'Neal sank both of his foul shots and the Heat extended to a 76-57 lead on a thunderous dunk by O'Neal with 4:13 left in the quarter.

The Mavs cut the deficit to 78-67 going into the fourth, but couldn't get closer than 10 points the rest of the way.

A three-point play by Devin Harris had Dallas within 80-70, but the Mavericks went ice cold from the field in the last 12 minutes to the tune of 2-for-18.

O'Neal hit two free throws after Harris' points to begin a 16-2 run for the Heat.

Dallas shot 3-of-22 from three-point range and was out rebounded 48-36.

Nowitzki turned his left ankle on a three-point try early in the fourth quarter.

"They are wrapping him up," Mavericks head coach Avery Johnson said of Miami's defense on Nowitzki. "They are putting a blanket over him and he's going to have to get that blanket off of him. We've had certain demonstrations of how to do it. Now it's just a matter of willpower."

Wade shook off a knee injury he suffered in Game 3 and literally took over the first half of Thursday's game. He had 24 points by halftime, as the Heat overcame early foul trouble to O'Neal and Udonis Haslem to grab a 54-44 lead at the break.

Game 5 is scheduled for Sunday at American Airlines Arena.

(Xinhua News Agency June 17, 2006)

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