Game 5 Reaction

Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki (C) dunks the ball between Miami Heats Mike Miller (L) and Chris Bosh (R) in the fourth quarter during Game 5 of the NBA Finals basketball series in Dallas, Texas June 9, 2011. REUTERS/Tim Sharp (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Gregg Doyel, It was a triple-double, if you’re into stats. But as LeBron James told us after Game 3, forget about the stats. Stats are for dummies. So let’s dig deeper than the 17 points, the 10 rebounds, the 10 assists, and let’s do what LeBron wants us to do. Let’s ask a better question. Hey, I have one: Anyone seen LeBron James? What happened to him? This James? The guy in these NBA Finals? Never seen him before. Never seen a LeBron James who refused to attack when someone like the shorter, slower, older Jason Kidd was guarding him. Never seen a LeBron who couldn’t make shots outside of 10 feet, or who wouldn’t get close enough to Jason Terry to stop him from shooting — and making — a 3-pointer with 33 seconds left on a night that Terry was locked in from long distance. This guy isn’t doing anything LeBron James did in the playoff series against Boston or Chicago, but the more I think about it, it’s him — the headband gives him away. He wears it at a tilt, but not because he’s sweating. Because he’s balding. The headband hides his receding hairline. And nothing can hide his receding game. The shrinkage continued in Game 5, shrinkage that started in Game 1 and Game 2, was mentioned after Game 3, and was acknowledged by most everyone else after Game 4. The shrinkage was so bad in Game 4 — James was so bad — that these 2011 NBA Finals stopped being about Miami and Dallas. Days ago the typical white noise generated by a championship series had been drowned out by the shrieking about LeBron.

Randy Galloway, Star-Telegram: It was another stretch run that seemed Hollywood scripted, which has become the norm in this series, and speaking of Hollywood, there was even bad acting by one of the NBA’s most noted actors, Dwyane Wade. His hip hurt. This is the same guy who blew off Dirk Nowitzki’s illness of Game 4 with “he’s a great player without all the dramatics.” What’s this? The drama queen of the league scoffing at someone else’s misfortune? Right back at ya, D-Wade. And where was your game when you were needed? With the Mavericks now up 3-2, the Heat will have to use home court, starting Sunday night in Miami, to rescue their egos and their reputations by winning twice.

Greg Stoda, Palm Beach Post: Before the game, the Heat insisted that it likes – wants? – the NBA Finals this way. It insisted that the challenge Dallas is providing makes more meaningful the emotional, psychological and physical tests Miami endured throughout the regular season and in earlier playoff rounds. Better, figured Wade, that adversity present itself. “That’s what we run on,” Wade said. “It wouldn’t feel right if it was (easy). “All the things we went through all year? If we had come out and won (4-0)? Really? All that for that? “This is what this team is used to. I always look forward to how we’re going to respond.” My guess is that there’s more rationalization than whole truth in those words, and the Heat is using whatever’s necessary to get through these worrisome nights. But it’s difficult to imagine Wade ever thinking that James would be at the root of Miami’s problems.

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