RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
The drama keeps coming in the NBA Finals. Last night in Dallas, the Miami Heat held off the Dallas Mavericks for a down-to-the-wire, 88-to-86 victory. It gives the Heat a two games to one lead in this best-of-seven series. NPR's Tom Goldman has this report.
TOM GOLDMAN: Mavs coach Rick Carlisle warned against that kind of math, saying beware the home court advantage, especially since Miami was one of the most adept teams in the NBA at winning in an opponent's arena. Before last night's game it seemed like the Heat had moved in.
LEBRON JAMES: (Rapping) ...they used to call me jizzle with a stamp in the middle, with a stamp in the middle...
GOLDMAN: Lebron James may as well have been in his own bathroom as he dressed for the game - with music cranking from headphones sitting in his locker. And as TV cameramen, and OK, a radio reporter, recorded James being James. Such is the weird world of mega-stardom. We're recording, he's oblivious.
JAMES: (Singing) ...on that next, traded in that gold for that platinum Rolex, seconds on my record...
GOLDMAN: Unidentified Man (Announcer): Let's go Mavs.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERS)
GOLDMAN: Miami jumped out to a first quarter lead, it grew to 14 points, but the Mavs cut it to five by half time. The pattern repeated in the second half - Miami would zip ahead - the Mavs would catch up - then great Miami defense and timely offense, and another zip. Here's Dallas head coach, Carlisle.
RICK CARLISLE: The fact that we were diggin' out of holes all night, you know, it was difficult to overcome.
GOLDMAN: For Miami? A symbolic winning play - Dwayne Wade passed to Lebron James, who passed to Chris Bosh for the clinching jump shot with 39 seconds left. The big three were big, with important contributions from several role players. Wade, in particular, set the tone with his aggressive forays to the basket - and his aggressive leadership, which included chewing out teammates when he felt they needed chewing, including best player on the planet, Lebron James.
JAMES: You know, he challenged me in the locker room at halftime; he challenged me on the court, and you know, as a competitor, like I said, I respect that.
GOLDMAN: What did Wade say?
JAMES: Uh, something that, uh, I don't know if my kids asleep right now, so I can't say.
GOLDMAN: It's midnight you can say it.
JAMES: No, my kids stay up late. You don't know my kids.
DWAYNE WADE: They watch ESPN tomorrow.
JAMES: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
GOLDMAN: What was it about though Lebron? Dwayne, was it about the offense? Was it about being stagnant or roughly what was it about?
WADE: It was about winnin'.
JAMES: It was about winnin'.
GOLDMAN: Tom Goldman, NPR News, Dallas.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MONTAGNE: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.