By John Schuhmann, NBA.com
Posted Jun 10 2011 10:26PM
MIAMI -- The 2011 NBA Finals are coming back to Miami with the Dallas Mavericks holding a 3-2 series lead over the Miami Heat, thanks to an offensive explosion and more clutch execution.
Game 5 was easily the most efficient game of The Finals for both teams, with the Mavs scoring 112 points on 86 possessions, and the Heat scoring 103 on 88. Combined, they scored 124 points per 100 possessions on Thursday, a huge increase over the 104 they registered through the first four games.
The Mavs shot 57 percent from the field and made a killing from 3-point range, connecting on 13 of their 19 attempts (68 percent) from beyond the arc. That was the highest percentage Dallas has shot from 3-point range since Feb. 18, 2009 and the highest 3-point percentage that Miami has allowed since Nov. 19, 2008.
|Mavs' postseason shooting|
|eFG% = (FGM + (0.5*3PM)) / FGA TS% = Pts / (2*(FGA+(0.44*FTA)))|
Maybe the Heat defense was half a step slow. Maybe the Mavs were supremely focused. Or maybe they were just due for one of those nights. Even after that big night, they're still shooting their lowest percentage from the field of any series in this postseason.
Yes, they had to give up a nine-point lead first, but the Mavs have now come from behind in the fourth quarter in each of their last five wins. This time, they erased a 99-95 Heat lead with 4 1/2 minutes to go, finishing the game on a 17-4 run.
The Mavs finally got a few "clutch" time field goals from players not named Nowitzki on Thursday. Through the first four games, Nowitzki had all seven of Dallas' clutch time field goals in The Finals, and he added one more, a dunk off a baseline drive that gave the Mavs a 102-100 lead with 2:45 left, on Thursday.
Clutch time = Last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime, with a point differential of five points or less
But Jason Terry pitched in with two clutch field goals and Jason Kidd added another in Game 5. All three were from 3-point range.
In addition to his dunk, Nowitzki added two clutch time free throws, giving him 26 total clutch time points for the series. That's twice as many as Dwyane Wade (13). LeBron James is now 0-for-7 from the field, including 0-for-5 from 3-point range, in clutch time in The Finals. And he hasn't made any trips to the free throw line in clutch time either. He has two clutch time assists, but no points.
Things were going pretty well for the Heat early in the fourth quarter of Game 5, at least offensively. They scored 20 points on their first 12 possessions of the period, and the first 17 points all came on dunks, layups or free throws, as they ate the Mavs' defense up with double pick-and-rolls sets.
But then the Heat started turning the ball over and stopped getting to the basket. They took just one more shot from within five feet of the basket, and that was a somewhat meaningless layup by James with 30 seconds left and the Mavs up seven.
|Heat fourth quarter shooting and turnovers in Game 5|
|< 5 = From within five feet of the basket; 5+ = From five feet and out|
Obviously, this wasn't the first example of the Heat falling apart late in the game. Their fourth quarter execution has been pretty bad, on both ends of the floor, since Game 2.
|Team efficiency by quarter|
|Eff. = Points scored per 100 possessions|
Offensively, the Heat have been at their best in the first quarter, and they've gradually gotten worse as the game has gone on. For the series, Miami has been less efficient in each subsequent period.
The Mavs made a lineup change in Game 4, replacing DeShawn Stevenson in the backcourt with J.J. Barea. That has seemingly sparked Dallas to their last two wins, but they've been most successful with neither Barea nor Stevenson on the floor.
|Most used lineups in The Finals|
|Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions|
The Mavs' lineup of Kidd, Terry, Shawn Marion, Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler was a plus-12 in Game 5 and is now a plus-42 in The Finals, having outscored the Heat 141-99 in 58 minutes on the floor.
No other five-man unit for either team is better than a plus-15 for the series, and the only unit that has played more minutes is the Heat's starters, who are a minus-5 in 66 minutes.
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