- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 1, 2011

MIAMI — Dwyane Wade’s night began with a hug for his mom. It ended with an embrace from LeBron James.

And the Miami Heat have struck first in the NBA finals.

James scored 24 points for his first win in five finals-game appearances, Wade added 22 points and 10 rebounds and the Heat beat the Dallas Mavericks 92-84 in Game 1 of the title series on Tuesday night.

The Heat trailed by eight points early in the third quarter before pulling away, remaining unbeaten at home in these playoffs and snapping Dallas’ five-game road winning streak.

Chris Bosh scored 19 points — holding up three fingers when it was over, a clear nod to the three wins Miamineeds for a title — and Mario Chalmers added 12 for the Heat, who host Game 2 on Thursday night.

“I just was aggressive,” Wade said. “We understand that this is the kind of game we wanted to play. We had them where we wanted them in the sense of points. You know they wasn’t scoring a lot on us and offensively we just executed and guys made plays.”

Wade’s 3-pointer with 3:06 left put the Heat up 82-73, then the largest lead of the game for either team. The Mavs shaved two points off it on the next possession when Dirk Nowitzki hit two free throws, but James gave the Heat their first double-digit lead of the finals a few seconds later.

He dribbled upcourt against Shawn Marion, crossed his dribble over and got clear for a dunk while being fouled. The free throw made it 85-75, and most in the sellout, white-clad crowd began standing in anticipation.

Even then, it wasn’t over.

Nowitzki made two more free throws — he was 12 for 12 from the line for the game — with 1:36 left, cutting the Miami lead to six.

A momentary blip.

Wade grabbed a key defensive rebound, dribbled away from three Dallas pursuers and found Bosh for a dunk with 1:08 left that restored the 10-point lead. Another dunk by James came with 38.6 seconds left, sealing the outcome.

Game over, and the Heat fans knew it, breaking into their now-traditional tossing of their white seat covers.

Miami outrebounded Dallas 46-36 and got another strong fourth-quarter finish from Wade and James.

“That’s who they’ve been their entire careers,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

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