The Mavs attacked aggressively throughout the game, either by rotating the ball, driving it inside or shooting the midrange jumper. They shot a frustrating 39.7% in this game, and for the first time they had reason to blame themselves more than give credit to the Miami defense.
Coach Carlisle started J.J. Barea to provide a penetrator to the offense; he brought DeShawn Stevenson off the bench for a trio of threes in the first half to keep the Mavs from falling too far behind; and he got seven helpful minutes from Brian Cardinal.
When the game ended, Marion (7 of 12) had outscored James (3 of 11) 16 points to eight. "I've got to do a better job of being more assertive offensively," James said. "[But] if I had had eight points and we won the game, I could be satisfied."
Wade (13 of 20) had 32 points, and Bosh (9 of 19) added 24, but no one else scored in double figures for the Heat. Dallas won even though Kidd was scoreless with only three assists against four turnovers; even though Terry was an inefficient 6 of 15; even though Dallas shot 4 of 19 from three-point range.
"We're back in our comfort zone," Bosh said optimistically after the game. "We're desperate again, and the pressure is on us again. This is when we're at our best."
Yes, the Heat had turned negatives into positives all season, but after Game 4 time was running out.
June 9, Dallas
Mavericks 112, Heat 103
GOING INTO THE FIFTH GAME THE MAVERICKS were on the verge of an offensive breakthrough. The dam broke: Dallas converted 56.5% from the field and 68.4% (13 of 19) of its three-pointers.