Dirk missed.

He wasn't fouled. He simply missed.

A equalizing shot by the Mavericks' most clutch player as the clock wound down hit the heel of the rim, and now Dallas's season is in jeopardy, as the Miami Heat came away with the 88-86 victory to retake home-court advantage and come within two wins of hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy.

Udonis Haslem forced Dirk Nowitzki to take an off-balance shot near the free-throw line, and though the 7'0 sharpshooter has hit the shot on many occasions, he couldn't do it this time.

And on that shot the momentum that the Mavericks picked up in Miami in Game Two has been washed away. Dallas will need to recover, and recover quick, to make a series out of this.

Miami is in great position to take home the title, as they proved they don't need LeBron James to have a big performance to win an important game.

The Heat got another excellent performance from Dwyane Wade. In Game Three, he shot 12-for-21 from the field, and scored 29 points, and added 11 rebounds while not turning the ball over.

James, meanwhile, had four turnovers, and scored just 17 points.

The Mavericks got another great effort from Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 34 points, on 11-of-21 shooting, and also contributed 11 rebounds. But most fans will forget the 11 shots he converted and focus on the miss that could have sent the game into overtime. It was a hard-luck outcome for the star, who has been so efficient in the playoffs.

Like Larry Bird's corner shot that missed over James Worthy in Game Four of the 1987 NBA Finals, a very reliable outside shooter came up just short.

Game Four is on Tuesday, and the Mavericks will need another big game from Nowitzki, or the Heat may very well take care of the Western Conference Champions like they did the 76ers, Celtics, and Bulls: in five games.