Late-game collapses dooming Heat in NBA finals

By TIM REYNOLDS | June 10, 2011 | 10:44 AM EDT

Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade (3), Chris Bosh (1) and LeBron James talk during the first half of Game 5 of the NBA Finals basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks Thursday, June 9, 2011, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

MIAMI (AP) — So far in these NBA finals, the Miami Heat have been in position to win all five games. A series of late-game collapses instead has the Heat on the brink of elimination.

In each Miami loss to the Dallas Mavericks in this series, the Heat have seen fourth-quarter leads erased by epic comebacks. Dallas outscored Miami 22-5 down the stretch to win Game 2, 21-9 in the final minutes of Game 4 and then 17-4 to wrap up Game 5 on Thursday night.

It's clearly a major concern for the Heat, as it's been all season. Struggling down the stretch of close games was an issue in the 82-game regular season. They lost 14 of 19 games decided by five points or less.

Because of the late-game misfirings in this series, the Heat have to win two games at home to deny Dallas the title. Game 6 is Sunday night in Miami.