‘Now or Never!!’ tweeted Miami forward LeBron James before the Heat’s Game 5 match up with the Dallas Mavericks. After an effortless display in Game 4, the man who calls himself the King (but will never be called a ‘superstar’ by this scribe ever again) looked more like the Jester in a 112-103 loss that gives Dallas a 3-2 lead in the best of 7 series. Even though the stat sheet showed a triple-double, LeBron’s impact on this game was far less than that. Like he has done all series long, James again deferred to his teammates in a game that could well have set him on his path to coronation. [caption id="attachment_1084" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="The fourth quarter of Game 5 poved, once again, that the moment was too big for LeBron James (pictured)"][/caption] The most surprising part of James’ deferral in clutch situations so far in the Finals is that it is coming from, arguably, the most megalomaniacal player to ever set foot on an NBA hardwood. It’s coming from a player that, from the moment he entered the NBA, has had a sense of entitlement and more than an air of arrogance, knowing he is the player that has the best chance to get close to the incomparable Michael Jordan. The man that, to reach, James must perform in the Finals as His Airness performed in the Finals. As the most gifted basketball player in the NBA (let’s not debate this, it’s true), this was James’ time to prove the doubters wrong. To show Gregg Doyel and the world that he can be the man in the playoffs. In Game 5, it was LeBron’s moment to show that, even though he has failed to close out the previous four games in the Finals, he is, as he believes, The Chosen One. With Dwyane Wade’s Miami Heat looking for an offensive leader, with Wade ailing from a hip injury, James’ moment came in the fourth quarter of Game 5. James’ moment left in the same quarter, with an ugly 2-point fourth quarter when so much more was expected out of the most prized free-agent signing in the history of the NBA. So much more from the man who has ‘Chosen1’ tattooed across his shoulder blades. With the butter soft attempts at a bucket sucking the offensive momentum out of the Heat, the Mavericks’ veteran trio of Jason Terry, Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki did what LeBron James couldn’t - close the game out. Unfortunately for the Mavs, who had their best game of the Finals in Game 5, shooting a startling 56.5% from the field (including an incredible 68% clip from three-point territory), the recaps are all focused on the man I mentioned above. Well, let’s talk about the Mavs now, not the man that failed to be the man when his team needed him the most. Let’s focus on the Mavs and their unlikely 3-2 series lead and not on the man that, with the Heat looking for him to lead them, took a total of three [caption id="attachment_1088" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Dirk Nowitzki's running dunk late in the fourth quarter of Game 5 gave the Mavericks a lead they would not relinquish."][/caption] shots in the absence of real team leader Dwyane Wade for more than seven minutes in the third quarter. Let’s forget the man that found the spotlight too bright to handle. Let’s forget his easily forgettable series so far and focus on the Mavs. The team that, despite playing against the most cunningly crafted team in NBA history, are one game away from their very first world championship. Dallas’ offense finally clicked for them in this one. Playing in front of their home crowd for the last time this season, the Mavericks played near flawless team basketball on the offensive end, while forcing the Heat into 18 costly turnovers, 12 from their highly-touted ‘Big Three’. After a relatively poor first four games of the Finals, having only averaged 5 points a contest so far, mighty mouse JJ Barea cut through Miami’s surprisingly soft interior defense to score 17 telling points in Game 5 to go along with 5 assists. By far his best performance of the Finals. On top of Barea playing the part that was so successful against both the Lakers and the Thunder, veteran sixth-man Jason Terry continued his Game 4 form, scoring 21-points on 8-12 field shooting, including two dagger three-pointers late in the fourth quarter that proved too strong for the Miami Heat to bounce back from. [caption id="attachment_1085" align="alignleft" width="160" caption="Dallas' Jason Terry celebrates the second of his two fourth quarter three-pointers that clinched a Game 5 victory for the Mavericks "][/caption] Even though the Heat controlled the glass, outrebounding the Mavericks by 10 in Game 5, the superb shooting from Dallas’ players helped them control the tempo in this one. The Mavs were shooting the rock so well, even Brian Cardinal, usually buried deep on the bench, nailed a three-point jump shot in the first half that had to be seen to be believed. With both teams scoring seemingly at will, this one again came down to big plays in the last five minutes of the game. Big plays, like Jason Kidd’s backbreaking trey with 1:26 on the clock that gave the Mavericks a 5-point lead. Big plays, like Jason Terry’s game-sealing three-point jump shot with :33 seconds left in regulation. Big plays that, unfortunately for the Miami Heat fans (all 15 that were there through the Heat’s 15-67 2007 season), their big-name free-agent signing during the summer could not and would not rise up and make. Heading for Game 6 in Miami with a 3-2 series lead and having not lost consecutive games all postseason, the Dallas Mavericks, led by superstar Dirk Nowitzki, who is cementing his legacy as a clutch playoff star in these Finals, are on the cusp of history. With one win in their next two games, the Dallas Mavericks can close out the series they never should have won, leaving the Heat and their mentally fragile forward (sorry to mention the man again) to a long offseason of pondering what might have been.