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Perhaps most startling of all is LeBron James’ crunch-time absence in a series that has seen all five games decided late. When the score has been within five points in the last five minutes, James has yet to score in the series, missing all seven shots. Those numbers contrast sharply with Dirk Nowitzki's 26 crunch-time points on 8-13 shooting, not to mention the 34-point difference in plus-minus.
That’s a wee bit south of superstar territory. Actually, it’s a wee bit south of Juwan Howard territory -- he averaged 14 points per 60 minutes this season. Every Miami player except Joel Anthony scored at a higher rate.
So not only is LeBron being less aggressive a scorer in the fourth quarter, and not only is he relying more on jumpers than inside play than in the second and third quarters, not only is he missing most of his shots in fourth ... he's also getting worse altogether as the series rolls on. At this rate, by Game 7 he'll be Mike Bibby. It's a perfect storm of misery.
From the moment that 3-point attempt left James' hand, it had no chance -- the ball looked like it was filled with helium, and veered toward the rim like it hadn't been given a set of directions. It clanged harmlessly off the rim, Jason Kidd made a 3 to put Dallas up two possessions, and it was all downhill from there.
With the score tied, LeBron was given three possessions to give the Heat a 3-2 series lead. By the time they were over, it was all but assured that Miami would have to play two elimination games.
When a Wade/Udonis Haslem pick-and-roll went nowhere with 4:05 left, Wade dished to James on the perimeter, and LeBron tossed a hot-potato pass through a thicket of Dallas arms toward Haslem in the lane. Kidd deflected it. The idea was a decent one, but it was a high-risk pass. And, again, this is LeBron James against Jason Kidd with no screener in the way to muck up his path to the basket.
These were not isolated incidents. James started the game taking long jumpers, and he only began attacking the hoop after Miami coach Erik Spoelstra forced him to by calling for repeated postups. And James still falls into the habit of standing around late in games when Spoelstra calls a Wade-centric pick-and-roll.