Mavericks Beat Heat 112-103, Take 3-2 Series Lead

The Dallas Mavericks are now just one win away from being crowned 2010-11 NBA Champions after crucial Game 5 win.

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JJ Barea and Shawn Marion Eager For Dallas To Close Miami Out In Game 6

What an exciting NBA Finals it’s been so far. The Dallas Mavericks are now just one win away from closing out the Miami Heat and finally winning that elusive title that they’ve flirted with for so many years after closing out the Miami Heat in the fourth quarter of Game 5’s thrilling 112-103 win. It was the first of the five games played this series that either team eclipsed the 100-point mark. It wasn’t that the offenses have been atrocious or that the defense was lackluster last night, both teams just played and shot the ball quite well.

For Dallas, shots finally fell in bunches after some uncharacteristically poor shooting earlier in the series. The Mavericks shot 56 percent from the floor thanks in part to their torrid three-point shooting. Dallas was 13-of-19 (68 percent) from down town, punctuated by two late treys by Jason Kidd and Jason Terry that sealed the win.

Give credit to JJ Barea for chipping in 17 points, easily his best game of the series. Shawn Marion only scored 8 points on the evening, but his defensive effort was again solid. Marion also chipped in 4 boards, 3 assists and 2 steals in the win.

Late on Thursday evening following their Game 5 win, Barea and Marion joined Into The Night With Tony Bruno to talk about the big win. (Marion segment begins at 8:10 mark; Barea at 21:40 mark)

Transcription via: SportsRadioInterviews

Marion on having another fourth quarter rally:

“At the same time though we were up to start the fourth quarter. We knew they were going to make a little run, we just had to stand in and make our own run to close it out.”

Marion on If he saw LeBron James and Dwyane Wade mocking Dirk Nowitzki prior to the game:

“Not at all. Everybody, the media, just comes back and reports stuff like that. We don’t care about that.”

Marion on whether or not he thinks the Mavericks are in the heads of the Heat:

“I don’t know if we’re in their head. No. We know what we’re capable of doing. We just go out there, stay persistent with what we want to do and what we accomplish, and go after it.”

Barea on the shooting percentage from three point range:

“I think we were due for some. I’m just glad and happy they went in tonight. When you play hard and you play with a lot of energy the basketball is going to go in at some point and it went in tonight.”

Barea on the Mavericks ability to close out game:

“We’re doing a great job closing out games. I think we have the players to do it. Jason Kidd with the ball, we’ve got Dirk, the best finisher I think in the game right now, Jason Terry is not scared to shoot it, and the important part is we’re getting stops. We’re getting stops in the last couple of minutes and that’s been big for us.”

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NBA Finals: Jason Kidd Talks About The Mavs' Game 5 Win

Jason Kidd spoke about the Mavericks' win in Game 5 of the NBA Finals and his team now being up 3-2.


On the adjustments needed for Game 6:

I think we have to play better defense. They shot over 50%. We have to limit them to one tough shot.

On the mood of the team after the win:

We’re happy with our performance, but there’s always room to get better. Defensively, in that fourth quarter we gave up too many layups, and they took the lead. But the big thing is, we know that it’s hard to win on the road, and we have to find a way to win on the road come Sunday.

On their comfort level after a quick start in the first quarter:

It always seems like at the end of one of the quarters or halves they make a halfcourt three, so to get that out of the way in the first was maybe a good sign. We turned the ball over, and they made the three and took the lead.

On his calm demeanor:

The big thing is to not panic. The game is about runs and rhythm, and they made a run on us with layups and we had to stop that. On the other end you have to keep playing when they do score, and guys stepped up and made some big plays down the stretch.

On what was said in the huddle after the Heat’s run:

Just to stay together and keep fighting. The big thing is, defensively, we have to get a stop. Make or miss on the offensive end, we have to find a way to break their rhythm because they were running the pick-and-rolls and they were slipping out and getting layup after layup. Normally, when they do that, you tend to drop your head and not score on the other end, but guys just kept playing and found a way.

On Dwyane Wade leaving with his injury:

I don’t know how my teammates felt, but I felt that he was going to come back. This is the Finals, so we all knew that he would come back at some point. The big thing is LeBron put pressure on us, guys were helping, and he was finding the open guy. Miller made two threes to start that half, so we didn’t get off to a good start. But we knew that at some point D-Wade was going to be back and that he would have a big impact on the game.

On how close he is to his first title and the perserverence required to get there:

I’m just staying in the moment and I know that we have to find a way to win come Sunday. Everything else will fall into place if we can find a way to win. When you come into this league you feel like you can always win a championship. You don’t understand when you’re young just the competition and the level you have to play at as a team. And then there’s the business side of basketball where you can be traded or you lose a teammate. You learn that, but you don’t stop working. You’re never too young or too old to always improve your game. For me at 38 I’ve always felt that I had to improve my shooting if I want to be on the floor and help my teammates out. As I’ve gotten older, it’s just about timing – not so much scoring 20 points or 15 assists or 10 rebounds. It’s just being at the right place at the right time and that your teammates believe in you. And Dirk and JET, JET made a heckuva play driving the ball, throws it out, and [me] being able to knock down that three. But just the trust that he showed that I would knock down that shot.

On Dirk Nowitzk’s focus:

He’s been in this position before, in ‘06. They’ve put teams around Dirk for a while now and he hasn’t gotten back here. So I think he’s enjoying the moment, but he’s also able to focus and understand how hard it is to win a championship. So, his hard work – he works every day on his game – right now he’s just focused on trying to help his team win.

On how Dallas has cut down on live-ball turnovers in the past two games:

Well, I kept it on the floor so that’s a good sign. For some odd reason I’ve been throwing it to the Heat. We understand how important the ball is against this team because if you turn the ball over, by the time you take one step back on defense they’re already gone. Sometimes it doesn’t look like it, but we’re trying to not turn the ball over. You have to give the Heat a lot of credit because they are great on the defensive end.

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NBA Finals: Donnie Nelson After Game 5 - 'Biggest Game In Franchise History'

Mavericks President of Basketball Operations and GM Donnie Nelson spoke with ESPN's Ian Fitzsimmons after Game 5 of the NBA Finals and spoke about his feelings after the big win.

This [NBA Finals] series has to be one of the tops, just from all the storylines. This is a gut-buster. You absolutely don't know with five minutes left, I mean it's anybody's game. And it seems like every game is like that. But what special performances we had tonight, really on both ends. The boys found a way to pull it off.

This was the biggest game in the history of this franchise. If we don't win this game tonight, it's a tough get down there. Now we've got a swing at two of them, and we've got to come up with one.

Nelson and Mark Cuban have almost entirely rebuilt the Mavericks after losing the 2006 NBA Finals to the Heat. Only Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry remain. The team's depth has been tested, as Rodrigue Beaubois could not return from a broken foot to find a rotation spot, the team lost Caron Butler for the season in January, and Brendan Haywood has been lost with a hip problem.

Here's Brian Cardinal, The Custodian, who doesn't see the light of day for the entire playoffs. All of the sudden he's playing significant minutes and really giving us a nice lift and giving Dirk some rest. But, man, there are so many plays - the Tyson Chandler offensive foul when he took the charge, that was a huge play. How about Jason Kidd's three? They don't get much bigger than that.

Listen to the entire interview here

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NBA Finals, Mavs Vs. Heat: Rick Carlisle Talks About Dallas' Game 5 Win

On what the Mavericks did offensively in Game 5:

We made more shots. We did a lot of good things defensively, which led to offense. Did Chicago score over 100 in Game 1, and that was the only time in that series? You never know when games are going to go that way. The thing we have to do is make sure that our defense is consistent.

On Jason Terry’s game:

He played great. During periods where Dirk was out of the game, we were going to him and he was delivering. Those are tough stretches of minutes for us, because it’s just tough when Dirk’s out of the game. But it’s the total game that we’ve all been preaching to JET since the playoffs began, and tonight he did a terrific job.

On being just one win away from an NBA Championship:

Well, we have to just continue to work the process. For us the process is just being in a stance, being tied together, being really tight defensively, because their great players put unbelievable pressure on you. So we understand where we’re at, but we also understand what got us here, and that is making sure we stay in the moment.

On what he said that propelled his team to finish strong:

We have to get penetration and get the ball in the basket, and then we have to get some stops. And they were able to do that. Miami keeps coming at you. They have guys who really attack, and their bigs are very versatile, so they’re very tough to guard.

On J.J. Barea’s performance:

Barea’s penetration was terrific. He got going with his outside game and his inside game, which really helped us. We threw in some difficult shots, but when you play as hard as we’ve been playing, the basketball gods tend to be kinder to you. We’ve had some tough luck shooting the ball, and tonight, the way we hung in and the wherewithal we played with helped us get over the hump.

On 13-19 from three-point range:

Both teams are shooting the three well. Thirteen is a big number. You get hot, you get on a roll. They don’t happen very often. Last time we had a shooting night like this was Game 4 against the Lakers. But that’s why you just keep working your game. That’s why you stay persistent. You keep defending, you keep systematically stepping into the shots that are there, and you’re going to have some breakthrough games. Persistence is our game. We’re an old school team. We’re not high flyers. Our game is near the ground, and we have to play with brains and guts.

On why Dallas’ halfcourt was so effective:

I think that a lot of times we got stops that led to those situations. But, look, we made some tough shots, and we had some good momentum in our offense, and that helps.

On whether Dirk was fully healthy for Game 5:

He may not be 100%, but he seemed to be ok.

On Brian Cardinal’s performance:

Terrific. He’s really a unique player, so resourceful defensively, always around the ball. He’s always going to be there taking charges, and he’s going to be making contact with people. I thought the block that was called on him may have been the wrong call. I thought he was in position and that Wade came right through his chest. But he’s going to be there. And when he’s on the floor we become a more active defensive team for sure.

On Ian Mahinmi’s performance:

He did a terrific job for us. With Haywood out, I wasn’t sure where those backup center minutes would come, whether it would be Marion with some hybrid lineups or whether I could get Ian out there. I really believe that he can help us because he’s very active and he played a lot of good minutes for us during the regular season. He helped us tonight.

On whether Dwyane Wade seemed slowed by injury:

Not to me, he was still driving well and got to the free throw line. I’m not sure what happened to him, but the guy who started for him hit two threes to start the half, so it wasn’t like they lost a whole lot.

Elaborating on Jason Terry’s ‘complete game:’

He’s been playing well really the whole playoffs. With a great player like Dirk, everyone wants to find who the number two scorer is, which guy is going to score the second most points. Look, JET’s a great scorer and a great shooter, but he’s a terrific all-around player. He used to play point guard exclusively, so he has a lot of experience as a playmaker. In situations where a guy like him draws attention, he’ll have to facilitate and create openings for other guys. The play where he got Kidd the open three up top, that’s a monster play. That happens because he draws attention and he sees the floor. It’s that and it’s the defensive end. Look, he was sensational tonight, especially in the fourth.

On how important it is to avoid a Game 7 in Miami:

Again, I would just say to you that we’re going to stay in the moment and we’re going to keep studying how we play our best. We’re going to play whistle to whistle. I heard that term watching the hockey series. A lot of people in the hockey world use that term, and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to try to win each possession and take it one at a time. An NBA Finals is a 16-day deal. It’s very long, but somehow it goes by fast. By staying in the moment and focusing on what works for us, that helps us.

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NBA Finals, Heat Vs Mavericks: Game Five Thoughts

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat 112-103 to take a 3-2 lead in the NBA finals.

After four grueling defensive games, both teams began to show life on the offensive end of the floor to begin game five. After going scoreless in game four, Kidd had five quick points. The Heat committed four turnovers in the first five minutes which helped the Mavericks ease out to an early lead. Dwyane Wade attacked the basket and got the free throw line six times in the first quarter but appeared to hurt his hip on Cardinal screen late in quarter. He would head to the locker room for some treatment and return later on. The Mavericks were in complete control to begin the game before the end of quarter meltdown began. The meltdown was punctuated with another Chalmers half-court shot to end the first quarter.  That gave Miami a 31-30 lead despite a sizzling start by the Dallas offense.

The offensive uptake continued in the second quarter. The Heat jumped out in front early in the quarter thanks to Chalmers' three point barrage. He hit four threes in the half and finished with 13 points. But the Mavericks' offense did not slow down in the second half. Dallas shot 66% from the field for the half. Nowitzki went 6/9 from the field with 16 points to keep the Mavericks within reach.  A 16-7 run to end the second gave the Mavericks a 60-57 lead to end the half.

Wade did not start the second half. Mike Miller started the half for Wade and hit back to back threes. The Mavericks hot shooting would not cool off and this time it was JJ Barea with eight points in the third. Wade returned to the game at the 4:33 mark and quickly made two great assists and hit a jumper to pull the Heat within five at 82-77.  Chalmers would hit two free throws late and the Mavericks took a five point lead 84-79 into the fourth quarter. The Mavericks would take a lead into the fourth for the first time in this series.

The fourth quarter started with the two teams exchanging baskets before the Mavericks put a couple of baskets together to stretch their lead to 88-81.  They seemed to be in control of the game but had multiple defensive breakdowns which led to easy dunks/layups for the Heat and a 7-0 run. After another breakdown on a Haslem dunk, the Heat led 96-95. But the Mavericks would answer, like they have every time in these playoffs by going on a 17-4 run to close out the game and take a 3-2 series lead.

The Mavericks were finally able to get their offense on track and put on a shooting clinic as they shot 56.5% from the field. They were unconscious behind the arc hitting 13/19 three pointers. Every single Maverick was a factor offensively and aside from Marion all had exceptional shooting performances. Barea was phenomenal, penetrating and, if not finishing, dishing it out for the assist and burying clutch three point shots in the second half. He finished the game 6/11 with four threes, five assists and 17 points. Terry was outstanding as well going 8/12 for 21 points and six impactful assists. He gave an amazing assist to Kidd with 1:25 to play for three that basically sealed the game at 105-100 and then hit the dagger three a few seconds later with James draped all over him to give the Mavericks a seven point cushion with 33 seconds left. 

Nowitzki showed no ill-effects from his sinus infection and put on another Dirk-like performance, finishing with 29 points. He was also able to get to the free throw line ten times. When his shot stopped falling he got to the free throw line which helped him get back on track offensively. Dirk has been Dirk in these playoffs. As expected. But the biggest play of the game came with 2:27 to go. Wade had the ball at the top of the key with Marion guarding him and Nowitzki came over to help double. Wade saw the double coming and immediately turned the corner to attack the basket. Kidd, who was on James, rotated to help clog the lane along with Chandler and Wade passed the ball to James in the corner. As the ball was in the air, Chandler sensed Lebron charging to the basket and set his feet bracing for impact. James collided with Chandler and an offensive foul was rightfully called. This has generated some controversy but Chandler's feet were set and it was the correct call. Chandler has been the difference for this Mavericks' team all season and that play exemplified his impact on this team. And it's plays like that that have the Mavericks one win away from their first championship.

As for the Heat, James' "Now or Never" proclamation was for naught as he had the quietest triple double in NBA history. He finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Good numbers but he once again failed to leave his imprint on this game. He had two free throw attempts for the game, which is inexcusable. But the Mavericks have to be given credit here. They are limiting his penetration and daring him to beat them with the jumpshot. It's been James' Achilles heal for his career and he hasn't been able to hit them in this series.

The Mavericks are now one win away from an NBA Championship. They lost the 2006 finals on their own floor in six games and now have a chance to win the title on Miami's floor in six games.

Basketball is funny like that.

Game six is Sunday night at 7:00 CT.

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NBA Finals, Game 5 Score: Mavericks Beat Heat 112-103, Take 3-2 Series Lead

The Dallas Mavericks are one game away from winning the 2011 NBA Finals. Dallas defeated Miami in Game 5 on Thursday night 112-103, giving the Mavericks a 3-2 series lead as the series shifts back to Miami for Game 6.

The Mavericks gave up the lead in the fourth quarter as the Heat went on a run to take a 99-95 lead. Dallas, though, stormed back with a run of their own, ending the game on a 17-4 run to end the game.

Dallas as a team shot 56.5% from the field in Game 5 en route to the 112 points. The Mavericks were also excellent from three point range, shooting 68.4% from beyond the arc.

Dirk Nowitzki led all players in scoring with 29 points, going 9-18 from the field and a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line. Nowitzki added six rebounds and three assists as well while playing 40 minutes.

Jason Kidd also played 40 minutes for Dallas, scoring 13 points with six assists, three steals and two rebounds. 

Jason Terry backed up his talk about the Mavericks making their shots, as Terry came off the bench to score 21 points on 8-12 shooting. 

For Miami, the storyline throughout the game was Dwyane Wade and his hip injury. Wade suffered the injury in the first quarter driving to the basket when Brian Cardinal tried to draw a charging foul against Wade, forcing Wade to the ground. Wade would leave the game to get his hip checked out, but returned in the second quarter after being told he had a hip contusion. Wade also remained in the locker room as the third quarter opened play and didn't return until nearly midway through.

Wade finished the game scoring 23 points in 34 minutes, on 6-12 shooting. 

LeBron James, who claimed that Game 5 was the biggest of his life, was 8-19 shooting for 17 points. James, though, did post a triple-double, dishing out 10 assists and grabbing 10 rebounds, but only scored two points in the fourth quarter. 

The Mavericks will look to clinch the series on Sunday in Game 6 in Miami.

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NBA Finals, Game 5 Score: Mavericks Lead Heat 84-79 After Third Quarter

The Dallas Mavericks lead the Miami Heat 84-79 after three quarters in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. 

Dallas is still shooting lights out - as a team, the Mavericks are shooting 60% (33-55). including 64.3% from three point range (9-14). 

Dirk Nowitzki continues to lead the Mavericks in points, with 21 as the game heads into the fourth quarter. Jason Terry and Tyson Chandler are both tied for second in scoring with each of them having scored 13 points. 

The Mavs have held LeBron James to 15 points on 7-15 shooting. Dwyane Wade, who has been on and off the court thanks to a hip injury, has just 13 points in 21 minutes. 

Game 5 marks the first time the Mavericks have led the Heat headed into the fourth quarter in the NBA Finals. Of course, as the Mavericks will tell you from their two wins in the NBA Finals, the fourth quarter is the one that matters.

Hopefully the Mavericks can seal the deal and take a 3-2 series lead into Miami.

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NBA Finals, Game 5: Dwyane Wade Returns To Game With 4:33 To Go In Third Quarter

Dwyane Wade checked back into Game 5 of the NBA Finals with just under five minutes to go in the third quarter after remaining in the locker room after halftime. 

Wade injured his hip in the first quarter driving to the basket when Brian Cardinal attempted to take a charge, forcing Wade to the ground. Wade suffered a hip contusion on the play.

Nobody ever said the Miami Heat were short on drama - and Wade entering and exiting the game just provides more of that for the Heat. 

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NBA Finals, Game 5: Dwyane Wade's Injury Forces Him To Remain In Locker Room At Half

As the second half gets underway in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Dwyane Wade is noticeably absent from the court. 

Wade suffered a hip contusion in the first quarter after Brian Cardinal attempted to draw a charging foul, causing contact with Wade, forcing Wade to the ground. Wade immediately went to the locker room with under three minutes left to go in the first quarter before returning in the second quarter.

As the third quarter opened, though, Wade was not on the court - or the bench for that matter. It appears that Wade's injury stiffened up during halftime, forcing him to remain back in the locker room.

Wade's return is likely questionable as it was before - but it wouldn't surprise me in the least bit if he came back for the fourth quarter as the Heat look to take a 3-2 series lead back with them to Miami.

For Mavericks fans, though, having Wade out of the game is certainly a relief. We'll see if Dallas can take advantage in the third quarter.

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NBA Finals, Game 5 Score: Mavericks Lead Heat At Halftime 60-57

For the first time in the 2011 NBA Finals the offenses have shown up to play as the Dallas Mavericks lead the Miami Heat at halftime of Game 5, 60-57.

Dallas had been trailing Miami after the first quarter 31-30, but outscored Miami 30-26 in the second quarter en route to taking a 60-57 halftime lead.

The Mavericks are shooting an unbelievable 65.7% from the field (23-35), including 71.4% (5-7) from three point range. Dallas, though, is only 9-14 from the free throw line, with Ian Mahinmi (1-3) and Tyson Chandler (3-5) both missing a pair.

Not surprisingly, Dirk Nowitzki leads the Mavericks with 16 points at the half. Nowitzki is 6-9 from the field with four rebounds and two assists. 

Tyson Chandler has been very good in the first half as well, playing 18 minutes going 4-5 from the field for 11 points. Chandler also has three rebounds, a block and a steal.

Defensively, LeBron James has been held in check. James only has nine points on 4-10 shooting. Both James and Dwyane Wade are -5 thus far as well.

Miami's bench has kept the Heat in the game, with Mario Chalmers going 4-6 from the field (all threes), good for 13 points - tied with Chris Bosh for the team high at the half. 

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NBA Finals, Game 5: Dwyane Wade Returns To Game

That didn't take long. Just a moment after being called questionable to return by ESPN's Doris Burke, Dwyane Wade returned to the game with just under nine minutes to play for the Miami Heat.

Wade left the game in the first quarter driving to the basket as Brian Cardinal attempted to draw the charge, sending Wade to the ground where he suffered a hip contusion.

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NBA Finals, Game 5: Dwyane Wade 'Questionable' To Return With Hip Injury

Dwyane Wade suffered what is being called a hip contusion in the first quarter of Game 5 of the NBA Finals and according to Doris Burke, Wade's return for the remainder of Game 5 is questionable. 

Wade suffered the injury with about three minutes left to go in the first quarter after drawing contact with Brian Cardinal of the Mavericks. Wade fell to the court, and immediately was in pain. Wade exited the game with 2:57 to go and went straight for the locker room.

Wade did emerge back out of the locker room with around nine minutes to go, but was noticeably limping out of the tunnel. 

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NBA Finals, Game 5 Score: Heat Lead Mavericks After First Quarter

Mario Chalmers nailed a buzzer beater three pointer as time expired in the first quarter, giving the Miami Heat a 31-30 lead after the first quarter.

The Mavericks came out hot out of the gate, jumping out to an early 13-6 lead, which was capped by a 9-2 Mavericks run which resulted in the Heat calling a timeout on their ensuing possession. 

Things were going so well for Dallas in the first that even Brian Cardinal hit a three pointer - his first points of the series. Cardinal's three gave Dallas a 21-14 lead that would be short lived as Mike Miller responded with a three of his own immediately after. 

While Dallas has been shooting better, they've been a bit lazy on defense - not getting back in time, and leaving secondary players like Mike Bibby and Miller wide open. Juwan Howard, Udonis Haslem, Miller, Bibby and Chalmers are a combined 7-8 from the field, accounting for 17 of Miami's first quarter points. 

Heat star Dwyane Wade was injured in the first quarter as well, as he left the floor for the locker room with just under three minutes to play in the first quarter. Before leaving, Wade was 1-3 from the field and six of six from the free throw line, giving him eight points.

Of course, it's just one quarter - and there's lots of game left to play. Still, there's reason for optimism if you're a Mavericks fan. 

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NBA Finals, Game 5: Dwayne Wade Heads To Locker Room In First Quarter

With under three minutes left to go in the first quarter in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade left for the locker room – wincing in obvious pain.

What exactly Wade hurt is unclear at the time – he was favoring either his hip or lower back en route back to the locker room. Wade was injured on an offensive series after drawing contact and falling to the ground.

It’s fair to assume that Wade will be back out for the second quarter, but the extent of Wade’s injury is unknown. Wade did leave the court under his own power, though, so I don’t think we’ll be seeing any Paul Pierce-esque dramatic return.

Mario Chalmers replaced Wade for the Heat.

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NBA Finals, Game 5: Brendan Haywood Inactive

Rick Carlisle just announced that Haywood is indeed inactive for tonight’s game.

Tyson Chandler was able to soak up a lot of minutes in the last game but if he gets into foul trouble, Brian Cardinal and Ian Mahinmi will likely get the minutes at the backup 5. Chandler has done a good job of limiting his early foul troubles that have plagued him in the playoffs in this series and that will need to continue tonight.

Rodrigue Beaubois is active in place of Haywood.

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NBA Finals, Game 5: Mavericks Vs. Heat Odds

The last three games of the 2011 NBA Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat have come down to the last possession. In Game 2, Dirk Nowitzki put the Mavericks up by two points in the waning seconds before Dwayne Wade missed a desperation three. In Game 3, Dirk Nowitzki missed a potential game-tying field goal as time expired. In Game 4, Mike Miller threw up an airball that would have tied the game had it miraculously gone in. 

So, what is Las Vegas expecting out of Game 5? Naturally, more of the same.

The odds on Game 5 state that the game is a toss up, with 5Dimes favoring the Mavericks by one point and OddsMaker favoring the Heat by one point. BoDog gives the Heat a one and a half point advantage as well while SBCGlobal and SportsBook have them even. 

The over/under is set at either 184.5 or 185 as well, meaning that Vegas is predicting another relatively low-scoring affair tonight in Game 5.

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NBA Finals, Game 5: Heat's LeBron James Responds To Comments

What would the NBA Finals be without some drama? Miami Heat superstar LeBron James responded to comments made by DeShawn Stevenson of the Dallas Mavericks. Stevenson claimed that James had mentally "checked out" of Game 4 of the NBA Finals, as evidenced by his paltry eight points. 

According to Calvin Watkins, James responded to those comments today.

"He has the right to say what he wants to say," James said. "Just know I'll be there for 45 minutes on the court tonight. We'll see what happens."

"It translates to all of us, especially me," James said. "We're always at our best when we're in an attack mode and it starts with me and it starts with D-Wade and trickles down to everybody else."

It appears for the most part that James isn't phased by Stevenson's comments - but he probably is bothered by the fact that it's been echoed in the media. 

It's also silly to assume that James will turn it up a notch because of what Stevenson or the media thinks. A professional athlete, especially one of James' talent, should not need bulletin board material to get jazzed up for Game 5 of the NBA Finals - or the World Series, Stanley Cup or Super Bowl for that matter. 

It seems like both James and Stevenson need to go to the Bill Belichick school of dealing with the media. What would BB do, guys?

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NBA Finals, Game 5: Jason Terry Says Mavs Will Break Out

The Dallas Mavericks will play host to the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night, and at least one Dallas Maverick is feeling supremely confident.

Despite the Game 4 win, the Mavericks shot under 40% from the field as a team. Jason Terry doesn’t think that the Mavericks will shoot as poorly as they have recently.

Per Jeff Caplan:

“We know we can win any style of game, but we prefer obviously to score 100 points because we know that team over there, that’s not the style they want to play,” Terry said. “So, if we can get to that in this series I think we can take control and it’ll be not as difficult as it has been for us. But, again, those shots that we’ve been missing, I just don’t see us missing those come [Game 5].”

While it’s unlikely that Terry’s comments will motivate the likes of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and the Heat – he had still better be able to back them up. Terry went just 6-15 from the field in the Game 4 win, and if the Mavericks are to take a 3-2 series lead, Terry will almost certainly have to shoot better.

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2011 NBA Finals, Game 5: Mavs Vs. Heat Comes To A Head

NBA fans have been treated to what has so far been the most closely contended NBA Finals in recent years. Sandwiched around a fairly easy Lakers 4-1 win over the Magic, LA and Boston have had six and seven game series with a lot of closely contested games, but not a single one of those 13 final scores were as close as the last three games of this series. All three have or essentially have come down to the last shot as time expires.

The series moves to Game 5 now, tied 2-2 and just begging for one of the teams to take control. The favored Heat can take full control of the series with a win, since they will then head back home to Miami needing just one of two home games for their second championship. A Mavericks win would give them an opportunity for their first ever potential title clincher in Miami.

The storylines are numerous and growing in number and significance, but LeBron James has found his way to the center. After an eight-point game in Game 4, and with Dwyane Wade carrying the Heat for most of the series, James faces a test of his greatness, and everyone knows that he knows it. How will he respond?

For the Mavericks, their constant struggle is to find ways to beat the scrambling, athletic Heat defense without committing turnovers - which lead inevitably to Heat transition dunks. They did a better job of that in Game 4, but they also missed numerous open shots, including several late in the fourth quarter that could have iced the game. Dirk Nowitzki is reported to be over his fever, but he'll need a repeat performance from his supporting cast, rather than what they supplied (or didn't supply) in Game 3.

It's at 8:00 CDT in American Airlines Center in Dallas and ABC. It's the last home game of 2010-2011 for the Mavericks. It's the biggest swing game of the series, and it's going to help determine the legacy of four Hall of Famers. Game 5, go Mamricks.

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