The following photo above basically summarizes Game Five of the NBA Finals that happened last night as the Dallas Mavericks took a 3-2 lead to beat the Miami Heat, 112-103. Dirk Nowitzki had 29 points and a breakaway dunk in the last few minutes of the game to solidify a victory for Dallas.
And the Mavericks came with the same approach: “we like coming from behind so we’re going to blow this lead and then win” as @treykerby noted. And they did just that. It was 95-90, and the Heat just came storming back.
However, it would just be over after that. J.J. Barea kept hitting too many three’s, and so did Jason Terry. Their three-point shooting was just amazing, going 13-of-19. I mean, seriously, how bad can you get on defense? I have never seen Miami become this poor on defense, especially when guarding the three. I mean, just wow — that is all I can say right there. Wow.
The Heat are now facing elimination, but it isn’t all that bad. Why?
The Los Angeles Lakers went down the same path.
Indeed, they did. Last year’s champion, the Lakers, went down the exact same path as the Miami Heat did in the Finals. They won Game One, lost Two, won Three, and then four and five. They trailed 3-2 to the Boston Celtics, but guess what they did? They came back! They won two in a row to become NBA champions.
Currently, the Heat are in the same hole. And plus, the next two games are at home for them, just like Los Angeles had it. So Miami has it’s advantages, but they need to — no pun intended — take advantage of it.
They won Game Three.
Now this may seem weird. Like it really matters if they won Game Three. However, studies show that under the 2-3-2 format when a series is tied 1-1, the victor of Game Three goes on to win the series 1o0-percent of the time (11-0).
So why not the Heat?
More Game Three
And there’s more to Game Three. This is probably stupid, but I am just gonna say it anyways. In Game Three of the 2006 NBA Finals, Miami won 98-96.
This year in Game Three, they won 88-86. Pretty similar looking, isn’t it? And they both ended oddly similar as well. Antoine Parker hit a game-winning jumper to get the team up by two. Chris Bosh did the same thing. At the end, Dirk Nowitzki missed a free throw. This year, he missed a shot as well. And that is how the games ended.
I just wanted to point that out.
But really, Miami needs to start getting aggressive. I can’t count anymore times when they just gave free throws to the Mavericks, three-pointers, and wide open scores in the paint. It was really just jaw-dropping of how poorly defense was played.
And LeBron James is the big key to it. He may have had a triple-double with 17 points, ten rebounds, and ten assists, but it sure didn’t look like a good game for him.
And James needs to do the following to get his groove back:
LeBron James needs to start driving a lot more now. I can’t get the number right now in my head, but I think he only went to the free-throw line two times last night? TWO TIMES! TWO FREAKING TIMES! Like, seriously, what the hell? This is LeBron James, people!
How is it that a 6’8″, 250-pound forward with indescribable speed, athleticism, and strength not be able to drive the lane with guys like Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, and Shawn Marion guarding him?
I was actually able to see some signs of aggressiveness from James last night. He did show off the speed and was able to do some flashy things. But most of the time, he ended up passing — but we’ll save that part for later.
For the Heat to succeed, James needs to be a lot more aggressive. He needs to start dominating in the paint more. Get some dunks on, get free throws. Work on it. Come on now.
LeBron James has really been un-confident right now and has been struggling. Why else is he struggling in the fourth? He has only scored eleven total points in the fourth. He needs to fix this.
James had a chance to get the Heat back into this. He had a great look at the three-point line with time going off, but just hit the back of the rim. Again, this is where confidence comes in. It’s been a struggle.
LeBron James only scored two points in the fourth quarter last night. That’s a start. At least he finally got some points in after a couple of games. But with the next two games facing elimination, James needs to start getting his clutch game in.
What happened to that James that scored eleven of 13 points for Miami against Chicago for the last moments of the fourth quarter? What happened to that James? What happened to the James that was just unstoppable in the fourth quarter?
Right now, all I see is a wannabe Stromile Swift with numbers like eight points, nine rebounds, and seven assists. *Rolls eyes*
And now the big reason why James is failing:
Listen, I am getting tired of LeBron James playing passy-passy style and being all point-guard like. WHAT THE HELL?!?!?!? You’re not a freaking point guard, LeBron! You’re LeBron James! Stop acting like a point guard doing your best to get assists now.
With the next two games on the line, both you and Dwyane Wade need to start scoring in the mid-to-high 30-point ranges. Stop making it look like Wade has to score 37 points and eight rebounds while you get 19 points, nine rebounds, and twelve assists!
No, no, I don’t want any of that crap anymore. This time, you need to take control. You do realize this is YOUR team now. You need to start taking the blame in press conferences and stop saying “but.” It’s all on you for these next two games. This is where greats become all-time greats, and you’re at the point where you could ruin your entire legacy or being praised by millions.
You really want to end this series with Dirk Nowitzki shooting all over your butt? No. No more passy-pass style. It’s time to start driving and taking control like the real LeBron James does. No more bull crap. It’s time to start stepping it up.
If it takes you not running the point, then fine. Leave that Dwyane or Mario Chalmers. For you, it’s time to get separation working on shots. And with Game Six on Sunday, you got two days find out what you really need to do:
a) Act like a point guard, not be the superstar. Be the Prince for Wade. Just a sidekick.
b) Take control. Assists don’t matter anymore when the game is on the line. Both you AND Wade light it up on the floor. Be a monster…attack!
It’s your choice, LeBron.
I still have the Miami Heat easily winning this. Miami has two full days to prepare themselves and what I mentioned is probably what they are most probably discussing right now. And with that, here are some keys:
You gotta play defense. Defense defense defense. Guard the three-point line, goddammit. You allowed them to shoot 68 PERCENT from the three-point line. Guard everyone well. When you started paying too much to the three, easy scores kept coming in the paint. Defense is going to play a big part in this one.
Guard Dirk Nowitzki well and pray that he never hits a shot.
Listen, Dirk Nowitzki is truly unguardable. It’s been tough to guard this guy, it’s ridiculous. Or, in a punny way, more like RiDIRKulous. But Miami needs to guard Dirk is tight as possible and just pray that the seven-foot German does not hit the shot.
Sometimes faith is all it takes.
Please refer back to my LeBron James segment on the fourth quarter and the Heat are fine here. The big reason why they have late-game struggles is James. And they need to fix that harder than an oil spill.
Chris Bosh is needed for offensive game, but he hasn’t been so good defensively. Why else did he allow that game-winning shot for Dirk Nowitzki in Game Two. Ouch.
Enter Udonis Haslem. Haslem has been playing the best defense so far when regarding to guard Dirk Nowitzki. It’s so hard to guard this kid, but Nowitzki has actually struggled versus Haslem.
However, a big key to win here also is Bosh. Miami needs to get Bosh involved more. If he can score about 20 points for the next few games, and maybe just at least close to double-digits in rebounds, then the Heat can really cause some damage.
Miami needs to use Bosh.
Haslem has been doing well, too. He got some nice open shots and played some good defense.
But as it goes down, Miami needs to get it going.
Just like a Bosh.
The Heat need to win this series. This is LeBron’s time.
It’s now or never for the Heat.
They need to get aggressive, or they’re going home.