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Fisher’s Game Notes: NBA Finals – Game 5

Sorry for my LeBron-esque Game 4 no-show. I had to cover Rihanna’s ACC concert, complete with all those chains and whips that apparently excite her.

* With an entire season having been spent psychoanalyzing the Miami Heat, it now comes down to this: do-or-die games on home court to truly test the mettle of the team. I can safely claim to have no clue as to how this will play out – and I’m not alone.

* No question that Dirk Nowitzki is the Finals MVP if Dallas wins the title (and possibly even if they don’t), but it was Jason Terry’s performance that might have shifted the ever-changing series for good. Terry’s game-tying and game-clinching three’s had to be disheartening for a Miami team that defended both plays as well as anyone could have hoped.

* That might have been the most underappreciated triple-double in NBA history. I know the Heat lost and that James managed a measly two fourth quarter points (and believe me, I love the fourth quarter scoring stats on Nowitzki and James’ respective outputs in the final frame), but … it was a Finals triple-double! It was the NBA’s transcendent star showing off all the facets of his game on the league’s biggest stage, the first such Finals feat since Jason Kidd turned the trick in 2002. That has to count for something, doesn’t it?

* Speaking of transcendent stars, a quick word about ranking Nowitzki among the game’s greats. I’m not here to engage in the same “where does he fit on the all-time list” discussion that has permeated these Finals, but rather to look at where he ranks within the game currently. After all, the big German is on the verge of outplaying Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and James and Dwyane Wade in consecutive postseason series. Doesn’t that at least put him in top three discussion?

* If Wade had done further damage to his body beyond a left hip contusion in the first quarter and hadn’t been able to return, then Brian Cardinal, the Mav who collided with Wade – would have had far too significant a role in determining the NBA champ.

* What do Peja Stojakovic and Boston Bruins defenseman Tomas Kaberle have in common? They were both acquired by their team from Toronto during the season, find themselves closing in on a championship and will have done nothing to help their team attain said championship. Stojakovic was a healthy scratch on Thursday and played a whopping two seconds in Game 4, down dramatically from his 14+ minutes in Game 1.

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