|Hall of Famers||Heat:|
Gary Payton (2013)
Alonzo Mourning (2014)
Shaquille O'Neal (2016)
Dirk Nowitzki (2023)
Pat Riley (2008)
Dick Bavetta (2015)
The 2006 NBA Finals was the championship series of the 2005–06 season of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the conclusion of the the season's playoffs. The best-of-seven playoff was contested between the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat and the Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks were favored to win the championship over the Heat. Despite these odds, the Heat won the title in six games over the Mavericks, becoming the third team—after the 1969 Boston Celtics, the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers, and later the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers and 2021 Milwaukee Bucks—to win a championship after trailing 0–2 in the series. Dwyane Wade of the Heat won his first championship and was named the Finals MVP of the series. Shaquille O'Neal won his fourth and final championship having three-peated with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2000-2002.
This series marked the first time since 1971 that the Finals featured two teams playing in their first NBA Finals series. It was the first occasion since 1978 that two teams who had never won an NBA Championship contested the NBA Finals. The two teams met again five years later in 2011, the second Finals appearance for both franchises, with the Mavericks winning the rematch over the Heat in six games.
This was the second NBA Finals matchup of teams from Florida and Texas, after the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic contested the 1995 NBA Finals. Until the Miami Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 NBA Finals, it was the last Finals loss by a team from Texas (the Rockets lost in 1981 and 1986) against eight championships (five by the Spurs, two by the Rockets, and one by the Mavericks, who won the rematch of this Finals in 2011).
This, along with 2004 and 2008, was one of only three NBA championships in the 2000s to be won by a team other than either the Lakers or Spurs as well as the only one in the 2000s not to feature either team.
2006 NBA Playoffs
|Dallas Mavericks (Western Conference Champion)||Miami Heat (Eastern Conference Champion)|
2nd Southwest, 4th West, 3rd Overall
|Regular season||52–30 (.634)
1st Southeast, 2nd East, 5th Overall
|Defeated the (5) Memphis Grizzlies, 4–0||First Round||Defeated the (7) Chicago Bulls, 4–2|
|Defeated the (1) San Antonio Spurs, 4–3||Conference Semifinals||Defeated the (3) New Jersey Nets, 4–1|
|Defeated the (2) Phoenix Suns, 4–2||Conference Finals||Defeated the (1) Detroit Pistons, 4–2|
|Game||Date||Home Team||Result||Away Team|
|Game 1||June 8||Dallas||90–80||Miami|
|Game 2||June 11||Dallas||99–86||Miami|
|Game 3||June 13||Miami||98–96||Dallas|
|Game 4||June 15||Miami||98–74||Dallas|
|Game 5||June 18||Miami||101–100 (OT)||Dallas|
|Game 6||June 20||Dallas||92–95||Miami|
Regular season series
The Dallas Mavericks won both games in the regular season series.
|November 25, 2005||Dallas Mavericks 103, Miami Heat 90||American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida|
|February 9, 2006||Miami Heat 76, Dallas Mavericks 112||American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas|
The Heat became the second team since 1985 to sweep the middle three games at home, the 2004 Detroit Pistons being the first. In 1985, the NBA switched the Finals to the 2-3-2 format, which was changed back to the 2-2-1-1-1 format for the 2014 NBA Finals.
|1 at the Wayback Machine (archived December 1, 2010)||Miami Heat 80, Dallas Mavericks 90||American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
|Scoring by quarter: 31-23, 13-23, 24-14, 12-20|
|Pts: Dwyane Wade 28
Rebs: Udonis Haslem 8
Asts: Dwyane Wade 6
|Pts: Jason Terry 32|
Rebs: Josh Howard 12
Asts: Nowitzki, Howard 4 each
|Dallas leads series, 1–0|
Dallas' Jason Terry scored a playoff-high 32 points as the Mavericks overcame a 31–23 deficit at the end of the first quarter.
|2 at the Wayback Machine (archived December 1, 2010)||Miami Heat 85, Dallas Mavericks 99||American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
|Scoring by quarter: 17–18, 17-32, 24–32, 27–17|
|Pts: Dwyane Wade 23
Rebs: Dwyane Wade 8
Asts: Payton, Williams 4 each
|Pts: Dirk Nowitzki 26|
Rebs: Dirk Nowitzki 16
Asts: Jason Terry 9
|Dallas leads series, 2–0|
Dirk Nowitzki had a stellar 26 point-16 rebound performance, and the Mavericks cruised past the Heat to take a 2–0 series lead.
|3 at the Wayback Machine (archived December 1, 2010)||Dallas Mavericks 96, Miami Heat 98||American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
|Scoring by quarter: 21–29, 22-23, 34-16, 19–30|
|Pts: Dirk Nowitzki 30
Rebs: Erick Dampier 9
Asts: Jason Terry 5
|Pts: Dwyane Wade 42|
Rebs: Dwyane Wade 13
Asts: Shaquille O'Neal 5
|Dallas leads series, 2–1|
Led by Dwyane Wade's 42 points and 13 rebounds, the Heat rallied from a 13-point deficit with six minutes to go in the fourth quarter. The momentum-changing comeback was capped by a Gary Payton field goal from just inside the three-point line with 9.3 seconds left. Dirk Nowitzki had a chance to tie the game at the free throw line with 3.4 seconds to go, but missed 1 of 2, sealing the win for Miami.
|4 at the Wayback Machine (archived December 1, 2010)||Dallas Mavericks 74, Miami Heat 98||American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
|Scoring by quarter: 25–30, 19–24, 23–24, 7-20|
|Pts: Jason Terry 17
Rebs: Dirk Nowitzki 9
Asts: Jerry Stackhouse 4
|Pts: Dwyane Wade 36|
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 13
Asts: Jason Williams 6
|Series tied, 2–2|
Dwyane Wade shined again for the Heat with 36 points, and Miami held Dallas to just seven points in the fourth quarter en route to a series-tying, blowout victory. The Mavericks' low-scoring fourth quarter was the lowest ever by any team during the NBA Finals. Jerry Stackhouse caught Shaquille O'Neal with a flagrant foul that resulted in him being suspended for Game 5. Stackhouse was the final NBA player to be suspended in the NBA Finals until Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors was suspended in the 2016 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
|"5" at the Wayback Machine (archived December 1, 2010) Retrieved 2016-02-04.||Dallas Mavericks 100, Miami Heat 101 (OT)||American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
|Scoring by quarter: 21–24, 30–19, 20-27, 22-23, Overtime: 7-8|
|Pts: Jason Terry 35
Rebs: Josh Howard 10
Asts: Marquis Daniels 4
|Pts: Dwyane Wade 43|
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 12
Asts: Wade, Williams 4 each
|Miami wins NBA Finals, 3–2|
Dwyane Wade shot 25 free throws - as many free throws as all the Mavericks combined (a fact that did not sit well with Mavericks head coach Avery Johnson), leading the Heat to their third straight win over Dallas after being down 0–2 in the series.
With 9.1 seconds left in overtime and the Heat trailing by 1 point, they inbounded the ball to Wade, who caught the ball in the air and then landed in the backcourt. Mavericks' team owner Mark Cuban felt that Wade had therefore committed a backcourt violation after receiving the ball.
Dallas was then penalized with a controversial foul call that sent Wade to the line to shoot the go-ahead free throws with 1.9 seconds left on the overtime game clock. Wade hit the first free throw, and Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson signaled to his team to call a timeout after Wade's second attempt. Josh Howard then made a timeout gesture with his hands and began to walk off the floor, and the referees called the Mavericks' last remaining timeout, which prevented them from advancing the ball after the second attempt if Wade converted. After the timeout, Wade made the second free throw to give his team a one-point lead, after which Devin Harris missed a Hail Mary half-court shot as time expired. Wade finished the game with 43 points while setting an NBA Finals record for most made free throws in a game with 21. Shaquille O'Neal added a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Miami converted 32 of its 49 attempts from the free throw line.
Jason Terry led Dallas with 35 points in a losing effort, while Howard added 25. After the game, a frustrated Dirk Nowitzki kicked a ball into the stands and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban caused many "acts of misconduct" resulting in fines of $5,000 and $250,000, respectively, for the two men.
|"6" at the Wayback Machine (archived December 1, 2010) Retrieved 2006-06-21.||Miami Heat 95, Dallas Mavericks 92||American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
|Scoring by quarter: 23–30, 26–18, 22–20, 24–24|
|Pts: Dwyane Wade 36
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 12
Asts: Jason Williams 7
|Pts: Dirk Nowitzki 29|
Rebs: Dirk Nowitzki 15
Asts: Jason Terry 5
|Miami wins series, 4–2|
Behind Dwyane Wade's 36 points, Miami rallied from a 14-point first half deficit to edge Dallas and win their first championship in franchise history as Jason Terry missed a critical 3-pointer that would've sent the game to overtime. Averaging 34.7 points per game in the championship series, Wade was named NBA Finals MVP.
The Mavericks would post the league's best record with 67 victories in the 2006-07 season, but were ousted by the eight-seeded Golden State Warriors in a six-game first round of the 2007 Playoffs. The Mavs' playoff defeat marked the first time a top seed was eliminated in a seven-game first round series since it was implemented in 2003. Still, Dirk Nowitzki was named the regular season MVP at season's end. After another playoff loss to the New Orleans Hornets in 2008, in which the Mavericks brought back Jason Kidd, head coach Avery Johnson was fired and replaced by Rick Carlisle. After another two early playoff exits, the Mavericks won 57 games in the 2010–11 season and returned to the Finals.
The Heat would lose convincingly by 42 points to the Chicago Bulls in the opening night of the 2006–07 season, the worst opening-day margin of defeat for a defending champion in NBA history. Injuries would keep the team from surpassing or even equaling last season's total, yet they still won the Southeast Division despite winning only 44 games. The Bulls would oust them in a four-game sweep in the first round of the playoffs, the first such occurrence since 1957. The following year, Miami completed its two-year turnaround from NBA champion to the NBA's worst team by winning only 15 games, equaling the mark set by the team in their inaugural season, which saw Shaquille O'Neal traded to the Phoenix Suns in mid-season and Dwyane Wade missing 31 games. The Heat gradually climbed back to contention in the Erik Spoelstra era, culminating in the much-publicized free-agent acquisitions of LeBron James and Chris Bosh. The Heat won 58 games in the 2010–11 season, and along with the Mavericks, returned to the Finals in 2011.
The 2011 Finals, which was a rematch of 2006, saw the Mavericks win in six games after trailing 2-1 in the Finals. It was the Mavericks' first NBA championship, as well as both teams' second appearances in the Finals. Dirk Nowitzki was named Finals MVP. Like the Heat in 2006, the Mavericks experienced a post-championship letdown, getting swept by the Oklahoma City Thunder (eventual Western Conference champion) in the opening round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs, and then missed the postseason entirely in 2013.
As of 2013, this was Miami's fifth championship out of a total of seven among the Big Four sports leagues; the MLB's National League Florida (now Miami) Marlins won the World Series in 1997 and 2003 while the NFL's Miami Dolphins won the Super Bowl in 1972 and 1973. The Heat would go on to win a second championship in 2012 against the Thunder in five games and a third championship in 2013 against the San Antonio Spurs in seven games before falling in 2014 against the same Spurs team in five games. The Heat made a sixth Finals appearance in 2020 losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.
This was the second "Big Four" postseason game or series to pit a team from Miami against a team from Dallas. In 1971, the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Dolphins to claim their first of five Super Bowls. As of 2020, the city's NHL teams, the Stars and Panthers, have not met in the playoffs, as are their MLB counterparts the Rangers and Marlins.