For the entire first half and a majority of the second, the Miami Heat were once again in control over the Dallas Mavericks. Chris Bosh had his stroke going and Dwyane Wade was yet again brilliant. Mario Chalmers also continued his solid play with five points and six assists off the bench.
LeBron James, though? Virtually non-existent. The star forward added nine assists and seven boards, but accounted for a shocking eight points on just 3-of-11 shooting. He drew double teams all night long and was constantly shut down by the likes of Jason Terry, DeShawn Stevenson and Shawn Marion.
However, the good news for Miami was that Bosh was having a phenomenal game right alongside Wade. Then the fourth quarter happened.
On a night with James abysmally struggling from the field, Miami could ill-afford to have another one of its big three go cold. Unfortunately, that's just what happened with Bosh.
In the final quarter, the power forward accounted for just two points, both coming off a trip to the line. He missed two wide-open shots from the floor and mishandled two passes down low, which could have and should have resulted in easy points for the Heat.
Once again, the Heat's fate rested on the shoulders of its beloved Wade. He almost came through for Miami, like Heat fans have seen so many times, but ended coming up just short after a missed free throw and game-deciding turnover.
Don't be mistaken, though, this loss does not fall on Wade. Without his exceptional performance, the Heat wouldn't have been in this game. Not even close, not with the way Dallas was executing as a team and playing lockdown defense. It's difficult for a guy to single-handedly to win a ball game, as we've seen so many times over the years with both James and Wade on their respective teams.
This is also the good news for Miami.
Although Dirk Nowitzki was impaired with a nasty fever, the Dallas Mavericks still played a much better team game than the Heat. Aside of Wade and Bosh for a majority of the game, no one else really stepped up for Miami.
And they were in it till the final minute. As a matter of fact, they somehow managed to hold a lead for almost the entire game. Yes, the Miami Heat were that bad tonight and they still managed to almost pull out a miracle.
Still don't see it? Dallas shot 39 percent from the field tonight and still won. That's bad news for Dallas and great news for the Heat.
More good news for Miami is the fact that they are once again placed in a bounce back opportunity. Is there any team that has been better in these situations than the Heat? Time and time again over the past several months, Miami has proved they are at their best with the backs against the wall after a disappointing loss.
For this reason alone, Heat fans should feel confident heading into game five.
Don't expect James to have another night like this one. It'd be stunning to say the least if he had another shooting night as poor game four for the remainder of the series. Look for Spoelstra to create more opportunities for the starting forward, especially early so that he can find a rhythm and sustain it for the entire game.
Also, it simply appears as though the Mavericks do not have an answer for Wade. No matter what they throw at him, he has performed at the highest of levels. It's safe to say you can expect more of the same from Wade from here on out. At this point, the only person who can stop Wade is none other than Wade himself.
With that being said, I expect Miami to bounce back offensively in game five and head back to South Beach with a 3-2 series lead. As I've stated my prediction is the Heat in six, so from there the rest is self-explanatory.
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