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Although the Miami Heat enjoyed the better playoff perch (second seed in the East) than their 2006 NBA Finals opponent the Dallas Mavericks (fourth seed in the West), it wasn't hard to tell which team had had the more dominant regular season.
At 60-22, the Mavericks held the third-best record in the league but unfortunately played in the same division as the 63-win San Antonio Spurs. Without a division title on their resume, the Mavericks faced a tougher path through the playoffs than the 54-win Phoenix Suns and 44-win Denver Nuggets (a fact that necessitated the most recent change to the NBA's playoff format a few months later).
The Heat were no regular-season pushover, holding a 52-30 record on the year, but the Mavs were the clear favorites heading into the series.
That status was only strengthened by a pair of double-digit wins to open the festivities, with Jason Terry (32 points) doing the heavy lifting in Game 1 and Dirk Nowitzki (26 points, 16 rebounds) leading the charge in Game 2.
The friendly confines of the AmericanAirlines Arena aided Miami's strong start in Game 3, but a commanding 34-16 third-quarter effort from Dallas hinted that the series could be over before it got started.
But even a 13-point lead with six minutes left in regulation wasn't enough, as the stunned Mavericks (and the rest of the NBA) caught a firsthand glimpse of a budding superstar in third-year pro Dwyane Wade (42 points, 13 rebounds).
The effects of Miami's 98-96 Game 3 clearly carried over to Game 4, as the Heat won all four quarters (including an eye-opening 20-7 fourth quarter performance) en route to a 98-74 win.
Dallas responded in Game 5, though, carrying an eight-point lead into intermission. But spurred on by a Miami crowd that knew it was the last time they'd be seeing their team that season, the Heat rallied to force overtime and eventually found their way to a 101-100 win.
The game was not without controversy, though.
Despite shooting 11-of-28 from the field, Wade finished the night with 43 points aided by a 21-of-25 showing at the free-throw line. Those 25 free-throw attempts matched the charity stripe opportunities for the entire Mavericks team.
His last two attempts came with just 1.9 seconds left in regulation, turning a 99-100 deficit into a 101-100 win.
Wade poured in 36 points in Game 6, Dallas shot just 37.0 percent from the field and Miami's 95-92 win gave the Heat their first NBA championship in franchise history.