NBA Finals 2011: 10 Things We Learned from Miami Heat-Dallas Mavericks Game 5
This series has been exactly what an NBA Finals should be like. Two teams with opposing styles slugging it out over the course of 48 minutes. Along the way delivering at least three instant classics.
It was a Texas flood that engulfed the Miami Heat on Thursday night. One long range splash after another.
Once Miami seemed to finally hang on long enough and make their move another wave of Dallas rain came there way.
As it stands the Dallas Mavericks are on the verge of their first ever NBA title. One game is all that stands between Dirk Nowitzki and company from reaching the pantheon of basketball legends.
Before we move the series back to South Florida and Game 6, let us take a look at ten things we learned during tonight's contest.
Jason Kidd Has Become a Clutch and Consistent Shooter
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So once upon a time opponents would let Jason Kidd have all three point and perimeter shots he wanted.
The sole objective was to keep him out of the paint and from killing you with his play making/passing abilities.
Those days are long gone as Kidd has shown time and again this series that he can not be give an open look because he will drain it.
Juwan Howard Will One Day Be an NBA Head Coach
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Did you see Juwan Howard on the sidelines?
The old man looked like he was built to wear a suit and pace the sidelines, while barking out orders.
While he did make some nice midrange jumpers, Howard also committed a couple costly and dumb fouls.
Brian Cardinal and DeShawn Stevenson Are Horrible Actors
Perhaps they were trying to give Miami a dose of their own medicine by appealing to the deceiving eyes of NBA referees.
Regardless when it comes to flopping DeShawn Stevenson and Brian Cardinal did an awful job of being convincing.
The two should perhaps take some notes from LeBron, who is truly made for Hollywood and showed his ability to fool the refs on a couple occasions this post season.
Eddie House Is Not Dead
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Great news Heat fans, Eddie House made a cameo in Game 5 to quell rumors that he may have recently passed away without anyone knowing.
No word yet on whether Big Z, James Jones or Erick Dampier are also still alive.
Rick Carlisle > Eric Spoelstra
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While Jeff Van Gundy went out of his way to compliment both head coaches, one has to give Rick Carlisle the nod thus far when it comes to coaching.
He managed to get his team to stage a furious rally in Game 2, which basically saved the series for Dallas.
Then he made great adjustments from Game 3 to 4 and once more did a great job tonight of beating Eric Spoelstra in the X's&O's battle.
Mario Chalmers Already Won
As Tom Petty sang "even the losers get lucky sometimes."
Win or lose, Mario Chalmers has managed to earn himself an extra $10-25 million already depending on the contract extension he signs.
His performance this series has elevated his value like crazy.
Much of that credit should also go to Eric Spoelstra. Few people know this but throughout the post season and even now in the Finals, Coach Spo has been staying late to work one on one with just Chalmers.
This has obviously had some positive effect as Rio has done his best to provide a spark for the Heat off the bench.
Dirk Nowitzki Has One of the Most Beautiful Shots Ever
Damn him, it's just not fair—seven-feet tall and with a sweeter stroke than anyone in the league.
Seeing rainbow shot after rainbow shot swoosh through the hope is both a joy and pain to watch. Joy because its as pretty as a Texarkana Homecoming Queen and pain because as a Heat fan each shot feels like a punch to the gut.
He has to win to cement his legacy but regardless of the outcome Dirk has gained more worldwide exposure and credit for playing through an injury and illness.
A Dwyane Wade Injury May Rob Miami of Another Possible Title Yet Again
So back in 2004-2005 Miami had the number one seed and were on the verge of advancing to their first NBA Finals in Wade's second season.
That's when he went down with an injury that limited his abilities in a decisive Game 7.
Without Wade Miami might not even get to see a Game 7 in this series.
Heat fans need to go to church and light a candle in hopes that Dwyane will be alright. His presence, leadership and on-court contributions will be essential for Miami to pull this out.
Jason Terry Talked the Talk and Has Since Walked the Walk
He's annoying he's braggadocios and he was right.
Give credit where it's due. Jason Terry tattooed the Larry O'Brien Trophy on his arm and he's determined not to have to surgically remove it.
Lucky shots, clutch shots, big shots and even an OMG shot.
For the Heat to win someone is going to have to step up and find a way to throw Terry off his current rhythm
LeBron James Now Has the Grandest Stage Ever to Silence All Critics
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LeBron James this is what movies and legends are made of.
You are the most hyped, dissected, and criticized athlete on the planet.
Now with all the questions, all the doubt and all the hate, you have the chance that kids dream of as they grow up. You're down 3-2 in the NBA Finals. You have the world against you and the best thing is that you still have the chance to accomplish the single greatest athletic achievement of your life.
Your career won't necessarily be defined by this series, but it may be. This may be your last Finals appearance. Look at Karl Malone and John Stockton, they got just two chances and they were both NBA stars. Malone being a league MVP.
So you said before Game 5 that it was the biggest game of your life, well now Game 6 on Sunday is the biggest of your life. Should you take care of business there, then you will have the ultimate stage for a coronation. You will have more eyes tuned in to see a Finals game since a guy named Jordan used to play.
It's do or die LeBron, you have the ball and your legacy in your hands.
The worlds eyes are upon you, show us what you're really made of.
Face it everything about this Miami Heat team has been over the top since last Summer.
Now one year after "Decision Day" the Big Three will have a chance to fight and earn their seats upon the basketball world throne.
Granted it's not the Los Angeles Lakers facing them but this story has more spice than Indian restaurant.
You couldn't have scripted it any better, so now we all know what it's gonna take. But we always knew it would take 16 postseason wins. Miami needs two more to achieve their goal but they've run out of lifelines and second chances. It's now or never and there is no room for error.
To make this season of great expectations a success the Heat must win Games 6 and 7.
Then and only then will they finally become the Three Kings.
Theme Song for the Moment
Since I referenced a Stevie Ray Vaughan title in the intro figured it'd be appropriate to finish with a song of his.
It's ironic because Stevie is from Dallas, Texas but this song fits LeBron James and the Miami heat perfectly now.