"They don't want to play a tough game," Stevenson said after the Mavericks' 86-83 victory that tied the Finals, 2-2. "They want to come down, see their passes and do stuff like that. We've got to get into them, push the ball out and when we do our defense is great."
The Mavericks did the best job anyone has ever done against James in the playoffs. The two-time MVP scored a postseason-low eight points, missed 8 of 11 shots -- including all three 3-pointers -- and committed four turnovers. Stevenson, Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion were among those charged with trying to slow down James.
One day after calling out James and Dwyane Wade as "great actors," Stevenson said he almost didn't recognize the passive LeBron that was on the floor Tuesday night.
"That's not him," Stevenson said. "In the Cleveland days he was attacking, but I think Dwyane Wade has it going."
Stevenson was asked if he knew why James struggled in Game 4.
"I don't know," Stevenson said. "He's a great player. I don't know why he's struggling. I think Dwyane Wade has it going, so they're going through him. He doesn't have the ball that much. We need to slow down Dwyane Wade. If we can keep LeBron playing like that, it's to our advantage."
Wade did score 32, so it made sense that he kept getting the ball. But the defensive effort on the other members of the Heat made the difference in the stretch run. Chris Bosh scored just two of his 24 in the fourth quarter. James was scoreless in the final 12 minutes. Miami shot just 33.3 percent and scored 14 in the final period.
"We had a tough time making shots tonight, but our defense kept us in the game," Tyson Chandler said. "Our scramble, being able to get our hands on deflections, causing them to be scattered and be easy baskets. When you're not shooting the ball well, you have to be find other ways."