NBA Finals 2011 Game 5 Preview: Will the Real LeBron James Please Stand Up?

Danny DolphinAnalyst IJune 9, 2011

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 07:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on while teammate Dwyane Wade #3 shoots a free throw while taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game Four of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center on June 7, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Tipoff: 9:00 PM (ET), Thursday, June 9, 2011

Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

Series: Tied 2-2

Line: Dallas by 1


Feel-Good Stat

They lost by three points when LeBron James had just eight points. Again, the Miami Heat’s best player had eight points and they nearly won.

Let that marinate and you should feel better already.

The best always respond to great adversity and tonight we will witness why he’s the greatest player on the planet. For whatever reason, he wasn’t in it mentally in Game 4. Let’s see what he’s made of.

Check out LeBron’s late-night tweet (around 2:30 AM ET) last night.


Three Adjustments

This one isn’t just on the players, as Erik Spoelstra has been out-coached in this series. Here are three adjustments he can take a look at:

More Rest

Notice the substitution patterns of Mavs coach Rick Carlisle. It’s early and often.

Frequently, you will see Dirk Nowitzki take a breather before the seven-minute mark of the first period. Spo needs to get his guys in and out. Dallas clearly has more juice late in the fourth and I think Carlisle's substitution pattern is the reason.

Also, LeBron can afford to sit for a few minutes in the second half without Miami getting torn apart.

Throw Some 'Bows

Spoelstra needs to stress physical play from the start or Tyson Chandler will manhandle them for another 16 boards.

If that means dusting off Erick Dampier, so be it. The guy is physical and wide and would not get pushed around by Chandler, who’s abused Miami’s front line at times.

The Heat have some beef down low, they should use it.

Stress Second-Chance Points

Miami has had trouble executing in the fourth quarter. When Dallas goes zone it’s a perfect opportunity on the offensive glass.

That means LeBron and Wade crashing with ferocity. A few offensive putbacks could be the difference in this one.


Final Nugget: Eddie Time?

Call me crazy, but if Miami goes cold in the second half, I think they should throw Eddie House in there. He’s a rare breed in the sense he can come in cold and make an impact.

While Eddie is erratic, he’s always ready to roll and would at least provide the energy of an eight-year-old on a cupcake binge.


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