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Why the Heat should be concerned heading into Game 5: A fan’s take
Despite all of the predictions I've heard that the Miami Heat would either sweep the Dallas Mavericks, or beat them in five games, the series is tied at 2-2. Needless to say, I was elated that someone finally beat Miami more than once in these playoffs. While no Heat fan will readily admit as much, I think the Hollywood bunch from South Beach have their work cut out for them. I've said all season long that the heralded big three would not be enough against a team that has multiple scoring options. This is just one of the challenges that Dallas brings to the table in this series. Here are a few additional reasons why I think Heat and their fans should be concerned as the teams head into the all-important Game 5.
Throughout the entire post-season, I've heard several analysts practically gushing over Miami's defense to the point where I thought I would lose my lunch. As difficult as it may be for some to accept, the Mavericks have played good defense as well, just not consistently. In Game 2, the Mavs used a 22-5 run to stun the Heat 95-93 and they followed that up with an 21-9 run to steal Game 4. While the Mavs have not played this lockdown defense for an entire game as of yet, they are just as good of a defensive team as Miami when they put forth the effort. If the Mavs can put together a complete game on both ends of the floor, they will easily win Game 5.
Next up, let's talk about the role players on this Mavericks squad. When I watched the Conference Finals between the Miami and Chicago, I noticed that the Bulls' second unit was almost a non-factor with the exception of Game 5. So far in this series, Dallas' bench has stepped up in key moments and provided timely baskets in both of their come from behind victories. If the second unit can put up another solid performance in Game 5, they will go back to Miami with a 3-2 lead and the pressure will be on the Heat to win the last two games at home.
Now we all know that Nowitzki was not himself in Game 4 due to a 102 degree fever. He started out hitting his first three shots but went on to miss 10 of his next 11 attempts from the field. However the Heat were unable to close out a team who was playing with an ailing superstar. Nowitzki eventually came to life in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 points, which nearly equaled Miami's total of 14 points in the period. It would be safe to guess that Dirk will be feeling better for Game 5, which raises one question. If the Heat were not able to beat the Mavs with their top scorer feeling under the weather, how will they be able to beat these Mavericks if Dirk plays well? The answer to this question is simple; they won't! A healthy Dirk plus another inspired performance by the other players, will lead to a victory for the Mavs in Game 5.
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