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Sunday, Nov 19, 2017
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Time is now for LeBron, Heat

DALLAS - LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have rooms across the hall from one another at Miami's team hotel in Dallas, which was convenient after Game 4 of the NBA finals. They needed to talk. And despite all the questions that have arisen after James' eight-point effort on Tuesday night — the first time in 90 career playoff games where the two-time NBA MVP was held to single digits in scoring — Wade emerged from that late-night strategy session as convinced as ever in his superstar Heat teammate. "Eventually," Wade said Wednesday, "he's going to do something amazing, and it's going to put us over the top."
Game 5 is James' next opportunity. The Heat and Dallas Mavericks are tied at two in these NBA finals, which resume tonight before shifting back to Miami for Game 6 on Sunday and, possibly, a winner-take-all Game 7 on Tuesday night. It's a best-of-three series now. "I think it's that time," James said. "I think it's that time that I try to get myself going individually." Said Wade: "Sounds good to me." James' words surely sound good to the rest of the Heat, too. Come tonight, everyone will be waiting to see whether he bounces back from a stunning Game 4 stat line. He was more than 20 points below his career playoff average, shooting only 3-for-11 in Miami's 86-83 loss. So far in the finals, he has nine points in the fourth quarter. To put that in perspective, Dirk Nowitzki had 10 in the final quarter of Game 4 alone. "I didn't play well, especially offensively. I know that," James said. "I've got to do a better job of helping this team win basketball games, especially late, no matter what it is. If that's getting an offensive rebound, like I said, making a couple of baskets, being more aggressive to give my guys opportunities to get open looks. I have to do that. That's what my job is. That's what I'm here for." On the eve of Game 5, Dallas guard DeShawn Stevenson directed some sharp words toward James, saying he "checked out" in the final minutes of Game 4 on Tuesday. James was unbothered, at least outwardly, by his latest give-and-take with Stevenson. "DeShawn, he's been talking for a long time, since our Washington-Cleveland days," James said. "I don't let that get to us. Those guys are playing well. We're playing well. It's a three-game series. Talk is cheap. You have to play the game of basketball. Let the scores and the plays define the game."
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