LISTEN to my podcast with 610 Sports Radio in Houston following game three, where I proclaim that the only way for Dallas to get back into this series is for Dirk to get some help, especially from Jason Terry.
Before I began my crucifixion of LeBron James, I decided it was only fair to go back and watch the tape.
So, two hours after the game, with my emotions in check and subjectivity in balance, I re-watched game four. Sadly, and perhaps not surprisingly, my feelings towards LeBron's colossal disappearance only intensified.
When James declared at the now infamous Big Three unveiling that the Heat would win "not one, not two, not three..." championships, these were just the type of moments he was looking to deliver on. The grand old Cavaliers fallback -- that he didn't have the help necessary -- was no longer the case. Now was supposed to be the time where the great King James imprinted his legacy into the pantheon of all-time basketball greatness.
During Game 4 and for much of The Finals thus far, James has failed to deliver on such a promise. Last night he looked eerily similar to the image he left us with during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season against the Boston Celtics: disengaged, tepid and all around disinterested.
In the final five minutes of the fourth quarters of this series, James has gone 0-5. That's right -- not only has he not converted on a field goal, but he's taken just five shots. Even worse, he has scored 9 points -- combined -- in four fourth quarter games thus far. He settled on far too many perimeter jumpers and showed zero desire to drive the lane.
Before the season began, I wrote a column questioning whose team this was. Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that it was still Dwyane Wade's, because Wade, without question, was the only true killer Miami had.
During 'Bron's struggles, Wade has held down the fort with his stellar play and magnificent will. Chris Bosh has played admirably, but it's been Wade who has brought the same passion and dynamic scoring and rebounding ability we all remember from the 2006 Finals.
On the telecast last night, Mark Jackson said that Wade was the third best shooting guard ever, behind Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. While that was a claim surely influenced by his brilliant in-game performance, it is one backed by more and more evidence as the finals progress.
Wade is in essence, everything James is not. He has the will, the fire and the assassin's nature that LeBron lacks.
Wade is the one who takes over games when Miami needs points; he is the one who desperately wants the ball in crunch time. Wade has scored 61 points combined over the last two games, and been dominant down the stretch. He's showed that throughout his career and especially in this series. In game two, he led Miami's comeback with timely buckets and lockdown defense while LeBron sat on the bench watching.
When LeBron did return, he missed on three consecutive shots and essentially refused to take the ball afterwards, instead completely deferring to Wade and Bosh.
An hour or so before tip last night, I tweeted, "I don't really know why, but I'm picking #Dallas tonight, for their last win of #thefinals." I guess now I finally know why.
In Game 4, LeBron managed to attempt just one shot in the fourth quarter. Forget the 3-11 shooting output and 37-97 total for the series -- that's bad enough in itself -- but it was the manner in which he played that truly excludes him from the list of all-time legends. LeBron didn't even want the ball. He stood in the corner like a one-dimensional recluse aimlessly watching and not attacking.
Miami's stellar defense held the Mavs to a mere 39.7 percent shooting and just 41 points in the second half. The Heat absolutely should have won this game. With Wade and Bosh providing excellent minutes, LeBron just had to give something ... anything.
But the great King James couldn't even muster that.
What was that Scottie Pippen? Yeah, that's what I thought.
Plus, check out my brand new HuffPost sports blog, The Schultz Report, for a fresh and daily outlook on all things sports.