Crucial Game 5: Heat vs. Mavs in Dallas
Well, I’m sure we’ve all heard this a million times, but once more can’t hurt: the team that wins Game 5 of a 2-2 series in the NBA Finals has gone onto win the Larry O’Brien trophy 73% of the time. So, to say that Game 5 is of the utmost importance to both teams is n understatement. Tonight’s game will more than likely decide who wins the 2011 NBA Finals, especially considering the 2-3-2 format used in the Finals. I think this is a must-win game for Dallas, just like in Game 4. If Dallas loses tonight then they will face the daunting and near impossible task of defeating Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, and the Miami Heat in two consecutive games in Miami. At the same time, Game 5 is also very important for the Miami Heat, especially coming off a Game 4 loss in which Lebron James was absolutely nonexistent. Obviously, the Heat would still feel some comfort even in a loss, knowing that they will be going back home for Games 6 and 7 but that is definitely not the position they want to be in. Lebron James needs to show-up big tonight. He needs to play up to his superstar status and be more aggressive in his decision-making. That’s not to say he has to be selfish and force shots because that is just counterproductive, but he needs to be the facilitator he was in Game 3. If Lebron’s stat line resembles anything close to the 24 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists he had in Game 1 or the 17 points and 9 assists in Game 3, both Miami wins by the way, then the Heat will be on their way to the franchise’s second NBA Championship. Dwyane Wade has been magnificent throughout the series and has clearly taken the role of closer for the Heat down the stretch, but if Lebron can just use his lethal combination of size, speed, strength, and athleticism to facilitate, which he is more than capable of doing, then I think the Heat will be able to win Game 5 in Dallas and close it out at home in Game 6.