Comeback Day: Heat storm back for Game 3 victory in 2006 NBA Finals

S Fernandez

Miami Heat 98 - Dallas Mavericks 96, NBA Finals - June 13, 2006

The 2006 NBA Finals represented the first time the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks were this close to their first ever franchise championship. With a 2-0 series lead thanks to two double-digit victories in Dallas at the AmericanAirlines Center, the Mavs were feeling pretty good about their chances. The championship parade was apparently already being planned and it was looking pretty grim for Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O'Neal and the rest of the Heat halfway through the final quarter of Game 3 in Miami.

Trailing by 13 points and facing an insurmountable 0-3 hole in their first NBA Finals game ever in Miami, Wade wasn't quite ready to go down like that.

He had already scored 30 points so far in the game but he finished with 42 points to lead a furious rally that earned the Heat their first NBA Finals victory. Three more of them came right after that one but if it wasn't for one of the greatest Heat comebacks in franchise history, the Heat wouldn't realistically have had a chance anymore in the series.

Back when he was known as Flash, the young guard proceeded to put the team on his back and continued to attack the basket freely while mixing it up with his midrange jumper. Down the stretch, O'Neal contributed by making two clutch free throws, James Posey hit a three pointer, Udonis Haslem had a steal and hit two free throws, and Gary Payton came through with the open jumper with 9 seconds left and one on the shot clock for the lead in one of the more memorable plays in Heat history.

The Mavs only connected on two field goals during these final six minutes of the game and Dirk Nowitzki had a chance to tie the game at 97-97 but uncharacteristically missed one of two free throws with three seconds to go. You can't blame that on the refs.

With momentum suddenly on the Heat's side, we all know the rest and the Heat had their first parade down Biscayne Boulevard.

Indeed, there are many great comebacks in the history of the Miami Heat.

The Heat's 2007 playoff series victory over the hated New York Knicks after falling behind 1-3. Alonzo Mourning's return to the team after missing the majority of the 2000-01 NBA season due to being diagnosed with kidney disease, as well as in 2005 and becoming an integral member of the 2006 championship team. There was also the largest postseason comeback ever for the Heat when they came back from 15 points to take a 2-0 series lead against the Boston Celtics in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals with a 115-111 overtime victory. And many more come to mind.

What's your opinion of the most memorable Heat comeback ever?

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