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NBA Finals 2011, Game 5: Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks Battle For Series Lead

LeBron James and the Miami Heat take on Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in a critical Game 5 of the 2011 NBA Finals at 9 p.m. EDT on Thursday evening at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas (ABC).

Dallas, which tied the series at 2-2 following their 86-83 win in Game 4 on Tuesday, will certainly look to Nowitzki to give them an edge. In19 postseason games, Nowitzki is averaging 28 points and 8.1 rebounds for the Mavericks.

"They outplayed us,obviously, in the fourth quarter, and we didn't take care of our business on both ends of the court." - Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat coach. (via Yahoo! Sports)

On the other bench, the Heat will put the ball in the hands of James (24.2 PPG in playoffs) and Dwyane Wade (25 PPG) with hopes of a dominant performance from at least one of them.

History heavily favors the winners of Game 5 in the NBA Finals - the winner of Game 5 in a series tied 2-2 goes on to win the series 73 percent of the time.

James is the biggest storyline entering the game, following his eight-point performance in Game 4 - a career postseason low. Prior to the game, James billed Thursday night's contest as "the biggest game of my life." 

James will certainly want to put his best foot forward - the question is, will Dallas let him?

For more 2011 NBA Finals coverage, visit SB Nation and follow our StoryStream.