Game Five commences tonight on Dallas' home court, which means this game will be the final time the Mavericks are showered with the cheers of their home crowd. Mavs fans have seen their team fight to the end, overcome missteps, and work to be on the verge of taking a 3-2 series lead. On the other side of the coin, Miami must once again figure out how to adjust to how Dallas is starting to out-think them both in the huddle and on the court.
The Heat still possess the ability to dominate on the defensive end of the court, which if we're honest, is the place where the Heat will win or lose. Miami has lost the ability to simply outscore Dallas at this point, so defense is their only measure. LeBron James is what he is, and if he takes more offensive initiative as he has promised (twice), it is probably going to come at the cost of touches to his teammates Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. That makes for a zero sum game, and Miami has to be at least three points better than that place if they want to win.
Be sure to track the game at the respective game threads for each team:
1. The pressure on LeBron is mounting
Now James is faced with the defining moment of his career. While we cannot get inside James' head, we do have his own words:
If I'm a Heat fan, that quote would have me absolutely freaked out. That is the kind of thing Gilbert Arenas says, not LeBron, and it implicitly implies that James is about to undergo a zero sum game with his teammates, which puts them in no better shape than if he continued to play passively. His quote is akin to the difference between these two statements:
"This is what I will do," vs "I should start doing this."
The first statement is declarative. The second is imperative, specifically directed at one's self. I think there is a difference between the two - one is a statement of purpose, while the other is a wish - and LeBron seems to be leaning toward the one that is more likely to come out of a Tracy McGrady's mouth than a Kobe Bryant's.
2. Dallas finally finding offensive rhythm