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"All I remember is telling those guys that they deserved it," Bosh said. "Hands down, they were the better team in this series. ... All we can do is just admit it and move forward."
What happens with the next deal may affect the Heat more than anyone. Some owners will insist on a hard cap, rolled-back salaries and, potentially, trying to bust some current deals -- which could break up the Big 3 before get another chance to win a title together.
A gloomy end to the season may bring an even gloomier offseason for Miami.
"Every situation has felt like it was an our-back-against-the-wall situation," James said Sunday morning, hours before Game 6 began. "We've been able to figure it out and find our way through and scratch our way through. This is the last test. This is the last pop quiz for us that we need to pass in order to make it all worth it."
They didn't pass.
So therefore, it wasn't all worth it.
"We give credit to the Dallas Mavericks," Wade said. "They're a helluva team. ... We ran into a team that at this time is obviously better than us."
Miami had chances to take command and wasted them all. The Heat missed 13 of their 33 free throws, let the Mavericks score 27 points off turnovers and simply could not get a rebound in the final minutes.
Nowitzki finished 9 for 27, and the Mavs still won. He was 1 for 12 in the first half, and they were still ahead, 53-51, thanks largely to Terry's 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting.
"Was he unbelievable tonight or what?" marveled Nowitzki.
Down the stretch, Terry made another contribution. He grabbed Nowitzki during a time-out, telling him, "Remember '06." The final minutes belonged to Dirk and the Mavs, and a few German flags waved in Miami's arena during the postgame celebration.
"This feeling, to be on the best team in the world, it's just undescribable," Nowitzki said.
After James got off to such a fast start, he had two points in the final 19-plus minutes of the half.
James didn't score in the second half until a layup with 1:49 remained in the third -- his first field-goal attempt since 1:05 remained in the half. Kidd made a 3-pointer late in the period, pushing the Dallas lead to 79-71, and it seemed like the only people standing in the arena were the players, referees, Cuban and a few guys around the Dallas bench.
Dallas took control in the second half after some wild back-and-forths in the opening two quarters. Miami took its last lead of the game -- the season -- just 64 seconds into the second half, lost it 16 seconds later and chased the Mavericks the rest of the way.
They never caught them.
"I can't believe the journey," said Kidd, who lost two previous finals trips with the New Jersey Nets. "The journey, the character of my teammates telling me they wanted to get me a championship. Tonight they came out and played well. I came here twice, this being my third time so third time was the lucky charm."
It was 81-72 entering the fourth, after Ian Mahinmi made a foul-line jumper as time expired in the third, just his third basket of the entire series.
None were bigger. The Mavs could taste a title.
"We had no champions on this team," Mavs center Tyson Chandler said. "And we walked away with a team full of champions."
Of the principal characters from the 2006 series, only Cuban, Nowitzki and Terry remain from the Mavericks' side, and for them, the beginning of this championship celebration seemed sweeter than even they could have imagined. Terry won't have to get his tattoo -- the one of the NBA championship trophy -- removed, which he vowed to have done if Miami won this series. Nowitzki will never be in the conversation of 'Best player without a title' again.
James is clearly the one with that most-unwanted label now.
As the night wore on, the smell of champagne permeated from the Dallas locker room, while Miami's was cleaned and vacuumed quickly, towels picked up, shower shoes stacked neatly before each player's locker. Nearby, in the team's usual postgame interview room, the Mavericks posed with the championship trophy, whooping in joy as Miami players filed out in stunned disbelief.
The offseason started earlier than the Heat ever imagined.
"The Greater Man upstairs know when it's my time," James tweeted. "Right now isn't the time."
NOTES: Carlisle improved to 11-3 as a coach with a chance to close out an opponent. ... James got a 21-minute rest in the second quarter in real time, thanks to a midcourt dustup and the referees taking several minutes to look at replays before doling out the technicals. ... Marc Anthony sang the national anthem, then took a courtside seat near the Heat bench.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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