Don't start switching the parade route into funeral procession. Not yet, anyway. Why? Never fear, D.J. Mbenga is here! He'll be back from his five-game suspension in Game 5 of the NBA Finals Sunday night in Miami. Actually, the muscled Mavs center probably won't play against the Miami Heat, but after a horrendous Game 4 in which Dallas scored a historic seven fourth-quarter points, anything would help at this point.
The main culprits, of course, are your MVP candidate and your Coach of the Year. Dirk Nowitzki resigned himself to taking off-balance 30-foot fadeaways in a wretched two-of-14 performance, and Avery Johnson got his pants coached off by Pat Riley and his shrewd switch to a zone defense. And remember waaaaay back when (a week ago, I think it was) when some of us--you know who we are--were saying Josh Howard was gaining ground on Dwayne Wade? Despite ABC's annoying sideline reporter Lisa Salter asking him about 107 times, "How's your poor knee?" Wade is fine. Josh, one for eight in in Game 4, is not.
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But it's OK. Don't jump. The Heat have momentum. But they also still have pressure. Some of us still feel even if the Mavs lose Game 5 they can win two in a row at the American Airlines Center. So the glass-half-full guy in me says, "Cool, now we can win it at home!" If not, we can always get our revenge on Shaq when the Diesel Fighting Championships come to the AAC on June 30. --Richie Whitt