DALLAS — The NBA Finals moves to Dallas on Sunday, and American Airlines Center workers spent the day Saturday getting ready.
The signs are up — giant pictures of your favorite Mavericks players are ready to greet fans for Game 3, and the giant outside video board bears a simple slogan: "Go Mavs."
It is the first league championship game in Dallas in five years, and the Mavericks return from Miami after a stunning Game 2 comeback.
But Dallas isn't celebrating just yet; we know what kind of message that sends, as we saw in Game 2.
So Saturday was like the calm before the storm as the Mavericks prepared for Game 3 of the NBA Finals. There is nothing like home court, and Dallas will try to protect that on Sunday night.
Both teams had to work out in the Mavericks' practice facility at the American Airlines Center on Saturday because the main arena was being used for an Arena Football League game Saturday night.
With their win on Thursday, Dallas in effect has gained home court advantage in this series, but it won't mean a thing if Miami wins one of the next three games in Dallas.
Still, there is nothing like playoff basketball in front of the home crowd.
"We're not good enough to just relax," said Dallas superstar Dirk Nowitzki. "We need to play with an edge at all times in every game, so hopefully tomorrow — with the game tomorrow — we're going to have a great game."
Heat forward LeBron James tried to put it all into perspective for his team, which surrendered a 15-point lead in the closing minutes of Game 2.
"In the playoffs, it's a win or a loss," he said. "We've moved on from Game 2, seeing the mistakes we made, seeing some of the great things we did as well, but it's a win or a loss. Series is tied 1-1."
Mavs back-up center Brendan Haywood didn't work out on Saturday; he suffered a straight hip flexor in game two.