LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have a chance to deliver the dagger, as they hold a 2-1 series lead over the Dallas Mavericks heading into Game 4 of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center on Tuesday night at 9:00 p.m. (ABC).
The history is rather telling on either side of Tuesday night's outcome. If Miami wins, Dallas is cooked. No team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals.
Yet, if the Mavericks win and tie the series, it's an entirely new series. Whichever team wins Game 5 of the NBA Finals with the series tied 2-2 goes on to win the series 73 percent of the time.
James and Wade are well aware of the circumstances, and by all accounts should come out with their 'A' games.
The problem is that the Heat have multiple weapons, possibly unlike any team in modern day history. If James is covered, there's Wade. If Wade's covered, there's Bosh. Miami even has solid fourth options in Mike Bibby, Mike Miller and Mario Chalmers.
Dallas' best bet is going to be finding a way to contain at least one of the Heat's big two (James or Wade), and making sure to execute on its opportunities on the offensive end.
That starts with Dirk Nowitzki, who is averaging 28.4 points this postseason. However, Nowitzki can't do it along, and will certainly need help from his supporting cast.
Yet the problem in this series for Nowitzki and the Mavericks has been a general lack of production from their secondary stars - Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, JJ Barea.
Terry is averaging 16.8 points in the playoffs, but is averaging 14.3 points through three games in the NBA Finals. Marion has averaged 11.9 points and Kidd has scored 9.6 points per contest this postseason.
If Dallas hopes to force a Game 6 or 7, it will need better production around Nowitzki.
Following Game 4 on Tuesday, Dallas hosts Miami for the final time in the 2011 NBA Finals on Thursday.
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