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Running Blog For Game 5 Of The 2011 NBA Finals

To put it appropriately

I just wrote a post on LeBron James to satisfy my need to say something about what appears to be the biggest controversy since the United States invaded Iraq.

So I really don’t want to talk about James in the introduction here. I don’t care about how many points he scores. He needs to play better, but everyone has seemingly forgotten another very real storyline for this game: The pressure is on the Mavericks tonight. They HAVE to win this game or this series is over.

But that doesn’t seem to matter. It’s all about LeBron. Ugh, whatever. Here’s a running blog on tonight’s game, a sporting event that I haven’t been eager to watch since Game 7 of last year’s NBA Finals when my Lakers beat the Celtics. I hope you follow along with me.

And if these first four games are any hint, have some water beside you. Hydration has been key in this exhausting series.

6:01 p.m. J.J. Barea stays in the lineup. Man, I hope the Lakers find a way to sign him as a free agent during the offseason.

OK, I’ll stop talking about the Lakers.

6:02 p.m. I tried to download the coveritlive applet for this running blog, but that site has some sort of problem with WordPress. I really like that format, as it would allow me to type without having to refresh, and all of your comments could appear right along side me in real time.

Oh well. Maybe later. Maybe for Game 6 on Sunday.

6:04 p.m. However, if Miami wins tonight, I don’t know if I will want to watch Game 6.

That being said, I will not give a prediction on LeBron’s offense, but I will give a prediction on the game.

Heat 89, Mavericks 83

I know this is all about LeBron in the eyes of many, but I think the Heat as a team respond big after that Tuesday loss.

6:07 p.m. And here we go!! Dallas gets the tip.

6:07 p.m. After Dirk misses the first shot of the game, Bosh takes the first shot for Miami, a miss

OH NO, LEBRON’S BEING PASSIVE!!!!

6:09 p.m. Dallas creates a couple of turnovers, the first of which leads to a layup, but the second of which leads to a short shot from Dirk. Afterwards, it looked like he glanced down at his left hand.

6:o9 p.m. LeBron’s first shot is a left-handed floater for the left side of the paint from inside 10 feet. It barely hits the front of the net.

LeBron is obviously killing this team.

6:12 p.m. After a Jason Kidd 3, LeBron rushes back down court for a quick slam dunk.

LeBron is obviously carrying this team.

6:14 p.m. Early timeout for Miami as Dallas has the momentum and a 13-7 lead with 7:20 lead. The Mavs have created three turnovers by getting into passing lanes, and those have led to four points.

6:15 p.m. The low point of this first quarter has certainly been Jeff Van Gundy dropping a “Chicken Soup for the Soul” reference after Dirk hits back-to-back jumpers. I’m waiting for his “Men Are From Mars” nod next.

6:18 p.m. This game is following a repetitive script we’ve seen in this series — the home team getting out to an early lead. Really, it’s going to be tough to put serious stock to any lead before the fourth quarter.

And even then, we’ve seen large deficits overcome in that time, too.

6:18 p.m. Two fouls on Joel Anthony.

6:25 p.m. A basket by Brian Cardinal. Needless to say, that’s unexpected offense right there, kids.

6:29 p.m. Dwyane Wade — who really needs to spell his first name correctly — just went to Miami’s locker room with about three minutes to play here in the first quarter. The ABC crew seems to think the injury occurred after he drew a blocking foul on Cardinal a few minutes prior.

To me, it looks like back spasms. He was holding his lower back as he walked through the tunnel.

6:32 p.m. So, with Wade out, who is going to step up for Miami?

Hmmmm, let me think …. who could it be. WHO. COULD. IT. BE

I say it has got to be Mario Chalmers.

6:34 p.m. Defense appears to be optional after those first few strong minutes. Both teams are connecting on some easy attempts. 30-26, Mavs, with 30 seconds left in the quarter.

6:36 p.m. Mario Chalmers does it again! Much like in Game — was it 2? 1? — he sinks an off-balanced shot from half court. Amazing. And it gives Miami the lead at the end of an offensive first quarter, and I mean that in a good way.

31-30, Heat.

6:38 p.m. The Mavericks shot 61.1 percent in the first quarter, yet trail by one. The Heat shot 55 percent.

6:39 p.m. And of course, Juwan Howard, Chalmers and Mike Miller had more points than LeBron in the first quarter.

And you know why that’s a pointless stat? Because Miami is winning, stupid.

6:41 p.m. Dallas’ Jason Terry evens the crazy-stupid 3-pointer score at 1-1 with a one-handed 3 as the shot clock expires, leaning to his right. Tied at 33.

6:43 p.m. The Heat with a great outlet off a Barea miss, leading to a James layup. That was an aggressive move right there.

6:44 p.m. Wade makes it back on to the floor, but it remains to be seen when he’ll be back in the game. The injury report states that he has a left hip contusion. He seems to be limping noticeably. Maybe that’s just him trying to get his swagger walk back.

6:47 p.m. It seems like both teams are saving their energy for the second half. Points are points, I guess. No defense being played right now, or for the last 10 minutes.

6:48 p.m. Wade is back on the floor. Still seems to be limping a bit, but he’ll be fine. The Heat did better without him, not that that means anything at all.

6:50 p.m. The Heat miss a shot! That’s worth its own writeup considering the shooting in this game so far.

6:52 p.m. The media timeout is your friend right now; this game needs a break. This is definitely not what anyone expected as the teams have combined to hit 34 of 55 shots.

6:52 p.m. LeBron has six points and is 3-for-7 from the floor. Yet, that is the lowest shooting percentage by any Heat player who has taken a shot in this game. Again, it means nothing — it just shows you how well everyone is shooting in this game.

6:57 p.m. Wade makes one of two at the line. Then, after a Dallas turnover and a Miami offensive board, Bosh gets fouled and makes a pair at the line. Miami has made 9-of-10 free throws; Dallas is 7-of-12. 50-44, Miami, with less than six minutes left.

6:59 p.m. Terry forgoes a layup for a pass behind him to Shawn Marion, who blows the short jumper. I have no idea what that was.

7:01 p.m. Miami takes a quick timeout after Dirk’s third field goal of the game, cutting Miami’s lead to four. I feel a big run for the Heat coming on as we close in on the half. The Mavs are shooting a high percentage, but they seem to be out of sorts a bit. The crowd is pretty dead.

7:04 p.m. Shawn Marion looks like he is playing a game of paper basketball when he attempts a shot.

7:07 p.m. “There isn’t a better DVD out there than Dirk Nowitzki shooting.” — Van Gundy.

I want to make a pornographic joke, but I’ll hold off.

7:08 p.m. Marion gets a technical for arguing a pretty sketchy call while guarding James. But the best part of all of that was the ref’s gestures as he signaled for the foul. It looked like he was having stand-up sex. Seriously, there is no other way to put it. The guy was thrusting his pelvis like a stripper. This blog has taken a turn for the worse.

7:11 p.m. LeBron to the bench for some blood cleanup.

7:12 p.m. Well, one team is certainly on the run, but it’s not the Heat. Didn’t see this coming. 56-54, Dallas.

7:14 p.m. Mavs take a TO with a one-point lead and about 20 seconds to go in the half. Mario Chalmers made another 3 to bring us to 58-57, Dallas. He has been amazing on both ends, including 4-of-6 from 3. But, Mark Jackson says that offense won’t win for coach Erik Spoelstra.

Yeah, Miami must hate it when its bench gets involved to take some of the scoring burden off its stars. That really must suck.

No, Chalmers scoring BY HIMSELF won’t win this game, and I get that’s what Jackson was trying to say. But if he wants to pitch in with 13 points in the first half, I don’t see the problem if I am Spo.

7:17 p.m. So we have arrived at the end of a very exciting, high-scoring first half.

Dallas leads, 60-57. The margins at the end of the five first halfs in this series have been one, zero, five, tw0 and three.

You have to feel pretty good if you are Miami. You played your worst defensive half; Dallas shot 65.7 percent, including better than 70 percent from beyond the arc; the Heat had nine turnovers and each team shot 14 free throws — and it’s still just a one-possession game.

7:21 p.m. Of course ESPN’s halftime show leads with footage of all 10 of LeBron’s shot. I’ve got to turn this off. I can’t stand this discussion for another moment.

7:29 p.m. Quick story about my connection to Tyson Chandler as this halftime profile is airing:

His Compton-Dominguez High School team played my high school, Redondo Union, in the 2001 CIF regionals. They won, and Chandler didn’t even play because he had a broken foot or something to that extent. Someone said then that Chandler was going to the pros after the season, and of course he did.

So yeah, I saw Tyson Chandler’s team beat my high school team 10 years ago in a game he sat on the bench the entire time. There’s that.

Next, let me regale you of the time I saw Matt Leinart in high school …

7:33 p.m. And hey, the game is back! What a shame for you guys.

7:34 p.m. Miami has been plus-9 in the third quarter this series.

7:35 p.m. How does Dallas maintain its lead as its shooting percentage inevitably dwindles?

7:35 p.m. Wade on the bench to start the second half. On cue, his replacement, Mike Miller, hits a 3 to tie the score on the first possession of the half.

7:38 p.m. Miller makes another 3. That’s just the way this game has gone.

7:38 p.m. Wade is in the locker room and seems to be questionable once again. That’s not good, even if the Heat have statistically played better without him tonight.

7:40 p.m. Andrew Bynum in 2009, Kendrick Perkins in 2010. Is Dwayne Wade that guy in 2011? Too early to speculate — but it’s never too early to speculate!

7:41 p.m. Dirk makes a 3 with the angle of the St. Louis Arch. The Mavs are 7-for-11 from deep tonight. That’s gotta calm down, right?

7:42 p.m. I GUESS NOT! Barea makes another 3! Six-point lead for Miami.

7:43 p.m. Obviously, no Wade means more of the onus falls on LeBron, if that’s even possible to have more.

7:45 p.m. Dallas could do a better job of positioning on the offensive boards, but past that, this has pretty much been a perfect game for the Mavs. Still, they lead by just four, 73-69, about halfway through the third.

7:47 p.m. Chandler picks up his second foul. And really, not many critical players are in foul trouble. Miller has three fouls, but he’s a perimeter player. Joel Anthony has three, so that’s some concern. Dirk and Chandler have two.

7:48 p.m. Here comes Wade out of the Heat locker room, wearing his warmup jersey. We’ll see what he’s got.

7:48 p.m. The Heat didn’t play as well in Wade’s absence this time around, but they certainly hung in there. Both benches have been absolutely fantastic.

7:50 p.m. Kidd nails a 3 — this is getting stupid — and Miami commits a turnover. That leads to an emphatic dunk by Chandler and Miami needs a big-time timeout.

80-71, Dallas. 3:46 to play in the third.

7:54 p.m. LeBron answers out of the timeout with a jumper. If I am a Heat fan, I am not worried. True, Dallas has never been up by as much as nine in this series, but this game is all about runs. This series has seen a number of leads overcome. Plenty of time left.

7:55 p.m. I know Dallas is near unconscious from 3-point range, but the Mavs have to still work it into the post. If they fall in love with that outside shot and just settle, this is going to be a close game quickly.

7:57 p.m. Jason Kidd can not guard Dwyane Wade on the block.

7:58 p.m. Great D by Kidd and Stevenson force a turnover by LeBron.

But that’s negated by a communication turnover from Terry and Kidd. Not pretty right there. Last minute of the third.

8:00 p.m. Brian Cardinal is just flopping around all over the place out there. He seems so excited by the action, he’s making some really stupid “hustle” plays.

8:01 p.m. Great defense by Chalmers gets Miami an extra possession to end this quarter. He has been just outstanding.

8:02 p.m. The ball gets into James, but he loses it on the way up — he was probably fouled — as the quarter ends.

Mavs up, 84-79, at the start of the fourth quarter.

Here we go. It’s got to be a team effort, but it’s all going to be put on LeBron’s shoulders.

What happens in these next 12 minutes — and specifically what happens with LeBron James in these next 12 minutes — will determine this series.

8:07 p.m. For once, Mark Jackson is right. That was a flagrant foul on Juwan Howard. DeShawn Stevenson makes one of two free throws.

8:08 p.m. Barea jitterbugs his way into the paint and a layup for a traditional three-point play. That dude is just plain annoying to watch if he is not on your team.

8:10 p.m. How long can the Mavs hold Miami at bay? It seems like they have been up between 4-7 points forever.

8:11 p.m. This quarter has been all about fouls.

8:13 p.m. Wade is still grimacing every time there is a stoppage in play. But, of course he’s fighting through it. He’ll be going to the line after the break to make this a three-point game. 90-85, Mavs, with 9:37 to play.

8:16 p.m. Five steps by Wade, no travel. NBA officials are just lovely.

8:17 p.m. Dallas is a pure perimeter team right now. This is not good.

8:18 p.m. But of course, Barea hits a 3 as he is falling down. That was pretty disgusting.

8:18 p.m. Lebron misses a straight-on answer 3.

8:19 p.m. Still, through all this, it’s just a three-point Dallas lead with about seven minutes to play after a Wade layup.

Can the Heat break through?!

8:20 p.m. But as Nowitzki makes two more free throws and we go to timeout, here’s something for Dallas to be positive about: The Heat have already committed five personal fouls in this fourth quarter. It’s nothing but shots on every foul for Dallas for the rest of the way.

8:22 p.m. The butterflies are starting to swarm in my stomach.

Do butterflies swarm? Maybe if they are rabid, mutant butterflies.

I don’t know why these games make me so nervous. I can only imagine what it’s like to be one of my friends down in Miami right now. I’m rooting against their boys, but I am rooting for their well-being.

8:24 p.m. Back-to-back layups for the Heat, in between a Mavs turnover, and now everyone is on edge as it’s just a one-point game.

8:26 p.m. Another layup! This one off a little slip from Haslem, who gets the pass from James for a dunk.

AND THE HEAT LEAD, 96-95, WITH 5:16 TO PLAY. TIMEOUT.

8:27 p.m. I know the Mavs have hit a bunch of shots and have led for all of this second half until now, but the Heat have played better. Better defense, better passing, better shot selection.

The Mavs always play well from behind, but how will they respond after being up by seven points just a few minutes ago.

8:29 p.m. Dallas gets the ball to Dirk out of the timeout, but his fall away jumper rims out.

8:30 p.m. Wade answers with a 3! 99-95, Miami with 4:23 left!

You can see all the columns now, written about Wade’s courage, heart, toughness, etc. AND WHY DOESN’T LEBRON DO THAT?!?! I hope they don’t say that.

8:31 p.m. Bosh going to the line for two shots after another two shots, but it was another defensive breakdown from Dallas that created the foul. Bosh makes one of two. 100-97, Miami.

8:33 p.m. Terry hits a game-tying 3! THREE MINUTES LEFT!

8:34 p.m. Dirk dunk! Dirk dunk! Mavs up by 2. Crazy action right now. I need a timeout.

8:35 p.m. The Heat’s last three possessions: LeBron misses a pull-up mid-range jumper,  a charging call on Chris Bosh and a missed wide-open 3 from the top of the arc by — GUESS WHO? — Lebron.

Kidd comes down and nails a 3. The place explodes. Suddenly, Dallas is up by 5, 105-100, with 1:27 left. They have answered Miami’s 9-0 run with their own 8-0 run.

8:38 p.m. Miami HAS TO SCORE HERE! And it’s got to be LeBron, right?

8:38 p.m. Wade gets stolen, but the fast-break layup from Marion is missed. The Heat get it back and while LeBron gets the ball and tries to draw the foul, he dishes to Bosh, who is going to the line for 2.

He makes only one.

8:40 p.m. With only 1:26 left and down by five, the Heat had to get a bucket. They didn’t.

But at least Bosh had a chance to make two free throws. He didn’t.

A bucket by Dallas with less than a minute to play would be the dagger. Jason Terry did. 3-pointer with 33.3 seconds left. It wasn’t even a good shot. Actually, it was a forced 3 with the shot clocking winding down. But that’s been the Mavs’ M.O. tonight. Those bad shots have gone in.

Dallas up, 108-101. As long as Dallas hangs onto the ball, the Mavs have got this one.

8:42 p.m. A given layup by James represent his first points of the fourth quarter. I think he is 1-for-5 in the fourth tonight.

Uh-oh.

8:43 p.m. Kidd gets fouled and makes both free throws. 110-103 with 25 seconds left. Who’s got a 3 in them for Miami?

8:45 p.m. Wade puts up a 3 and it bounces out. Terry makes two more free throws. 112-103.

8:45 p.m. Bosh misses from 3, and the Heat concede.

Mavs win, 112-103. Mavs lead series, 3-2.

8:48 p.m. Dallas was 13-of-19 from 3-point range. The Mavs outscored the Heat, 18-11, off turnovers. Nowitzki was very good, standard for him. Terry was simply great; Kidd was solid; Chandler gave Dallas just enough toughness; Barea was tremendous because he made shots; Chalmers was fantastic, but kind of disappeared in the second half; Miller gave the Heat some great minutes and made three 3s; Bosh got a double-double; Wade missed a huge chunk on this game and played three quarters through a lot of pain, but was very good.

But — dum da-dum dum — it was all about one man.

And you know what, LeBron James had a triple-double with 17, 10 and 10. However, he and Eddie House (0-for-2) were the only Heat players to shoot under 50 percent for the game. James was 5-for-12 in the second half and 1-for-4 in the fourth quarter.

Yeah, he recorded four rebounds, four assists, had only one turnover and really didn’t do anything to kill the Heat. LeBron James made smart decisions and was engaged — which seems to be the word of the night — for all 48 minutes. He did everything at 100 percent. He ran out, he would sky up to the rafters for passes, he was aggressive on the glass.

But no one is going to care about that.

He came up small once again in the fourth quarter. He put it on himself to produce in this, the “biggest game of my life,” and he didn’t come up with the clutch shots when Miami needed them.

And unfortunately, that’s all anyone will focus on. LeBron played very well tonight. But as I said, he didn’t need to have just a good game. He needed to be legendary along with a Miami win. He can still do that on Sunday and Tuesday in Miami. But the next 72 hours will make the previous 48 look like a walk in the park.

Here comes the avalanche of fourth-quarter questions again. Here comes the lack of toughness calls again. Here comes “what happened?!” again. Here comes more smack talk from the media and probably the Mavs.

It’s not right and it’s unfair, but it is what it is. And unless LeBron retires tomorrow, I am done talking about it until Sunday’s Game 6, LeBron’s newest “biggest game of my life.” Unlike tonight, that will be an elimination game for James and the Heat.

Now or never … ?

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  1. Ruzzo
    June 9, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Thank you for caring about my well-being ❤

  2. June 10, 2011 at 12:17 am

    Here’s looking at you, kid. ; )

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