by Adam Figman | @afigman
We here! SLAM is in the building—the American Airlines Center, to be specific—for Game 5, which is set to tip off in a little under an hour. Coach Carlisle just announced that Brendan Haywood is out, and when asked who’d be activated in his place, he said, “Caron Buter.” Then, after a pause, “Just kidding.” Jokes! Roddy Beaubois is actually the active one. We’ll be back with more when this thing tips off, but until then feel free to hit the comment section with some pre-game predictions. Back soon…
8:53—Star-Spangled Banner time. “Acoustics” is singing. An internationally award-winning vocal group, we’re told.
8:57—This Mavs intro gets more epic every time. I think they’re adding a few sound/visual elements each game. If this series was best of 21, the introduction would literally be the entire arena exploding up in flames.
9:07—Tip-off time. This place is rocking, and I’ve got a fan-o-meter measurement that proves it. A Dallas brick and a Joel Anthony loose-ball foul open it up.
9:09—Looks like Shawn Marion is spelling Jason Kidd of his LeBron duties on D. Probably a smart move, with LBJ stating he’ll be looking to attack the rim and all. Speaking of Kidd, he just turns a steal into a lay-up. 2-2.
9:11—The Maverick fans have been crazy all week, but this is easily the loudest they’ve been. Didn’t stop DWade from hitting a pair of freebies, though. 4-4.
9:13—Feels like the entire stadium is watching LeBron tonight. After a JKidd trey, he just out-ran the entire Dallas team back and converted a baseball pass into a dunk.
9:14—To counter that, though, the Mavs are going to work tonight. They’ve made good use of almost every open look, and have turned a few turnovers into buckets on the other end. They’re up 13-6 after Shawn Marion puts in a runner. Timeout Miami.
9:17—Marion with two botched plays in the paint on consecutive Dallas possessions. A brick by LeBron—who looks a little stiff so far—is rebounded by Miami, who gets a Chris Bosh lay-up after a nifty DWade pass. 13-8 Mavs.
9:19—Jason Terry checks in. For the record, the All American Airlines Center Team—guys who are the most loved around these parts—consists of Jason Terry, JJ Barea, Dirk, Brian Cardinal and yeah that’s it. The AAAC Team has four members.
9:22—Two DWade ft’s make it 17-12.
9:23—Brian Cardinal, who I spoke to pre-game and is cool as hell, unsuccessfully takes a charge on Wade and is called for a block, his first foul. Two free throws—wet, wet. 18-14 Dallas.
9:24–The Custodian makes up for it on the other end with a trey. Mike Miller counters that with one of this own. 21-17.
9:27—23-19 Mavs, timeout. Dallas’ dancers are making the entire arena blush, which is always funny.
9:30—A quick Tyson Chandler and-1 outta the timeout. LBJ called for his first foul.
9:31—DWade just walked off to the locker room after some sort of hip check from Cardinal. Not a great look for the Heat, though they might really need Bron to step his game up if that’s anywhere near serious.
9:33—Strong Dallas defense leads to a 24-second violation. In other news, it’s crazy that we spent all year talking about how the youth is taking over, and at the moment Juwan Howard, Mike Bibby, Jason Kidd and Brian Cardinal are all over the place in this game.
9:35—You see! A Brian Cardinal 3-pointer countered by a Juwan Howard jumper. OK, there’s a Tyson Chandler dunk. Order restored. 30-26 Mavs.
9:37—Mario Chalmers hits an absurd halfcourt shot at the buzzer to end the quarter. Can’t believe that fell in. Assuming it counts, we’ve got a 31-30 game after one, with Miami on top.
9:40—Still no word on DWade’s status. Unlike the previous pair of contests, it actually feels like the Mavs are controlling this game. So far.
9:41—LeBron James finally does some LeBron James stuff, grabbing a rebound right over a defender and dunking it back in with ease. JET counters with a three-pointer at the 24-second buzzer that looked like it had no shot. 33 up.
9:43—An Ian Mahinmi and-1 (!) followed by a Chris Bosh and-1.
9:44—DeShawn Stevenson for three. Wet. 38 all.
9:45—40-38 Miami, timeout. Worth noting: LeBron is posting up A LOT. Not much good coming of that, but it’s a better decision than a whole bunch of off-set jumpers.
9:47—DWade’s back from the locker room. Seems to be limping a little.
9:48—Word is Wade’s got a bruised hip, which I probably could’ve guess. I was told his return is questionable, though as I’m typing he’s back on the floor. I’d say we could upgrade that to “probable.”
9:49—As has been the case all series, Chris Bosh is getting his buckets tonight. He’s got 11. 42-41 Heat.
9:50—JJ Barea from deep. Net. 45-44 Heat.
9:52—Seems like DWade will be OK. Just drained a tough, DWade-esque runner on the side of the paint. Timeout Dallas. 47-44 Heat. Just 6 points for Bron so far.
9:55—Just realized how high-scoring this has been. We’re at 91 combined points with 6:36 left in second. Wild.
9:57—Eddie House is in the game. He’s looked good from what we’ve seen in practice, and I was wondering why he wan’t getting a few minutes here and there.
10:06—Minor technical difficulties. We’re back. Dirk buries a jumper to make it a 52-50 game, Miami on top.
10:07—This “Beat the Heat” chant has these fans psyched, but a Tyson Chandler takes things to another level. 52-52. An overhyped Shawn Marion is T’ed up for being too overhyped. It happens.
10:13—Terry drains a corner jumper. 58-54 Heat. Crowd really pulling the Mavs ahead here. Hard to overstate how important homecourt has been these past few days.
10:15—I’m nowhere near close enough to have heard this, but my sources on Twitter tell me Joe Crawford just yelled at all of the players to stop yapping. That’s a real G move right there. Respect.
10:17—60-57 Heat as the clock hits zero and we reach the half. Damn, after a few defensive dogfights, we might have two teams that both break 100 tonight.
10:22—It’s a little more difficult than it sounds, but tonight’s halftime entertainment is quite literally some dude lifting up some other dude using his arms, legs, shoulders, etc. A pretty solid athletic feat, though the powers that be need to forget about baseball players and start testing these bros for illegal substances, if you ask me.
10:36—Second half begins, with no DWade in sight. Interesting.
10:38—Still no signs of Wade. A couple of missed threes and a nice LeBron post up later, and we’re tied at 65.
10:41—Brian Cardinal, somehow, draws the charge on Bosh. Dirk follows with a 3. Crowd’s fired up. I think this is about the time for LeBron to back up some of his words, specifically the ones about him getting himself going ASAP.
10:44—73-69 at a timeout. James and Bosh both lead Heat with 13 points, while Dirk leads everyone with 21.
10:49—JJ Barea is everywhere. Pulls an offensive rebound that keeps the Dallas possession alive. Mavs ball up 75-71.
10:50—DWade back. Doesn’t stop JET from draining a three, though. 78-71. Chris Bosh’s inability to exploit Brian Cardinal on offense feels like a big deal, though I have a feeling nobody’s going be talking about that one tomorrow.
10:51—A strong Tyson Chandler dunk puts Dallas up 9, 80-71. Timeout Miami. This feels like the biggest lead the Mavs have had all series, though I can’t confirm that. Definitely the first time they’ve dominated a game so thoroughly before the final few minutes of the fourth quarter.
10:54—A timeout stadium-wide dance contest just broke out, with the best dancer getting a trip to Miami. “The Girl in the Pink Hat” won. Congrats to the Girl in the Pink Hat.
10:57—Jason Terry drills a midrange J. 82-75.
10:59—Great Dallas ball movement ends with what looked like a forced Terry jumper, but it fell anyway. 84-77. On the other end, a foul on The Custodian stops play.
11:00—A Dallas turnover is overshadowed, at least in my mind, by a mini-not-really scuffle between Brian Cardinal and Mario Chalmers. Entertaining stuff.
11:01—On cue, Cardinal tries to draw a charge on Chalmers to no avail. His third foul, and ‘Rio gets two freebies. Wet, wet. 84-79 Mavs.
11:02—Ian Mahinmi’s mouthguard goes flying through the air after Dirk rims out a jumper. Foul on Miami, followed by a Dallas turnover.
11:04—Bron can’t get off a shot in the quarter’s final seconds. 84-79 after three. Very small girls and very large men are dancing together on the court.
11:06—Mavs going into the fourth quarter with a lead feels weird. JKidd starts it on bench as Barea mans the point.
11:08—A hard Juwan Howard sends DeShawn Stevenson to the line. Brick, good. Stevenson sends DWade to the line similarly on the other end. Good, good. 85-81.
11:09—JJ Barea with a nifty move through the D that leads to an and-1. Sinks the freebie. 88-81.
11:11—LeBron’s doing whatever he can to break free in the open court, but Dallas has been quick to foul him on any signs of such an opportunity, which just happened again.
11:13—Timeout, 90-85 Dallas. “Fan Cam” time.
11:14—We had Emmitt Smith Tuesday. Tonight: Tony Dorsett and Miles Austin.
11:18—JJ Barea with the circus 3. 93-88 Mavs. LeBron counters, or doesn’t counter, with a brick.
11:20—Miami finally gets their open floor shot. Ends with a Bron pass into a DWade finish. 93-90.
11:20—”MVP” chants as Dirk sinks two freebies. 95-90 Dallas. Timeout. This feels like the inverse of the previous two (or four?) games, where Miami was dominating gameplay but only winning by a couple of points at most. The Mavs are up 5 but it feels like they should be up 12.
11:25—Um, LeBron has a triple-double. Subtle as hell. Doesn’t really matter, though. The direction the media takes regarding #23 will depend entirely on whether or not the Heat win this game. Stats be damned.
11:27—And, um, the Heat are winning. 96-95. Like just about every tilt this series, this one feels like it’s going right down to the wire.
11:28—The Mavs select a “Player of the Game” about 15 minutes too early during each home game. Tonight’s: JJ Barea. He’s got 17 points.
11:29—Another American Airlines tradition: Using the locker room scene from Hoosiers to hype up the crowd in the middle of the fourth quarter. Done and done.
11:30—A Nowitzki brick turns into a DWade three. 99-95. Dirk fouled going hard in the paint on the other. Two free throws: Net, net. 99-97 Miami, 4:23 remaining.
11:32—Lotta excitement leading to sloppy play. Both squads with turnovers.
11:33—Jason Terry converts one of the open looks he’s been talking about for days. 100 up. 3 mins to go.
11:35—A LeBron brick turns into a Dirk dunk which turns into a LeBron charge which turns into a shitload of noise in the American Airlines Arena. Holy shit is it loud in here. 102-100 Dallas.
11:36—Another LeBron brick. The media is going to hail golf balls on that man tomorrow if Miami doesn’t win this thing. Meanwhile, the ever-reliable Jason Kidd drains an open three. This building isn’t literally erupting, but it is doing the closest thing it could possibly be doing without literally erupting. My seat is bouncing. Timeout Miami, 105-100 Mavs, 1:26 to go in fourth.
11:39—Dallas forces a turnover, but Shawn Marion can’t convert over LeBron James’ massive wingspan. Miami ball. Chris Bosh is fouled going up in the paint. Two freebies: In, out. 105-101 Mavs, 56 ticks to go.
11:41—Jason Terry fearlessly fires in LeBron’s face, and sinks it. How the hell did that fall in? He’ll have plenty to say after this game, and for good reason. 108-101 Mavs, 33 seconds to go.
11:42—Bron with a quick drive and hoop. JKidd fouled quickly. Two shots: Good, good. 110-103, 25 seconds to go. Save the media and the players on the bench, not a soul isn’t standing on his or her feet in this joint. Timeout Miami.
11:45—DWade misses a jumper, Jason Terry pulls the rebound and is fouled. Hits both. 112-103 Mavs, 20 seconds to go. We might be done here.
11:46—Another Miami miss, another Dallas rebound. Yep, game. 112-103. Wow. LOUD FANS.
Thanks for rocking with us, y’all. It’s been too much fun. Tzvi Twersky will be holding it down with liveblogs and whatnot live from Miami, so don’t stray too far. We’ll be back at it in a couple of days.