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And then there's that

Here's where the LeBron James - Dwyane Wade friendship will be truly tested.

Because Wade has every reason to be upset with LeBron for that performance. And LeBron has to be able to accept the criticism and play much HARDER in Game 5. It doesn't have as much to do with scoring -- although he could've gone 0-for-6 in the final minutes and it would've helped his cause -- as much as it has to do with simple effort.

When you've got Wade playing as hard as he was from everywhere on the floor, it looks bad when LeBron is not coming close to matching that effort.

For about 40 minutes, LeBron was doing everything right, even without the shot attempts. He was playing within the offense, he was piling up the other numbers, rebounds and assists. But when the Heat needed him to score the way he scored late in the Boston and Chicago series, he was nowhere to be found.

If he had decided to launch at five or six shots down the stretch and missed them all, at least he would've looked like he was trying to be that guy he had been. In that scenario, he could at least say his shot just wasn't falling.

In this scenario, he has no excuse. Because it just looked like he put himself to sleep. It looked like he was content with watching Wade attempt to save the Heat again.

He wasn't blocking shots. He wasn't disrupting the Mavs offense. He wasn't doing much of anything offensively.

Wade had to be asking him "What the (expletive) are you doing!!!"

If LeBron is anywhere near his usual self in that fourth quarter, the Heat is holding a 3-1 lead in this series.

As it is, the Heat is tied in a fantastic series that now appears to be anyone's to take.

Here's one encouraging part of this performance. The last time he had a playoff performance anywhere near this bad -- that would be the quit game against Boston -- he responded with a game that was all effort.

He shot poorly and turned the ball over in that Game 6 last year against the Celtics, but he managed to put up 27 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists.

If he does something close to that on Thursday, the Heat will leave Dallas one win away from a title.


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