AP blog from Game 4 of the NBA finals

June 7, 2011 - 7:44 PM
NBA Finals Heat Mavericks Basketball

Fans cheer outside American Airlines Center before Game 4 of the NBA Finals basketball game between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday, June 7, 2011, in Dallas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

DALLAS (AP) — The blue shirts are back.

The mood in Dallas, though, is anything but blue entering tonight's Game 4 of the NBA finals.

Yes, the Mavericks are making some lineup changes, which will likely disappoint the Heat because they were amused by some of the things DeShawn Stevenson was saying on the off day yesterday. Seems like Stevenson is out of the lineup in favor of JJ Barea. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle isn't saying it yet, but Stevenson is, so that seems good enough.

The Mavs know the reality. Go down 3-1 tonight and this series is over. Too big a mountain to climb, especially with the potential of two games in Miami.

The Heat know that too, of course.

Dwyane Wade was saying this morning that the Heat are trying to block out the 2-1 series lead and play this game as if it means everything. LeBron James says Dallas losing tonight won't doom the Mavs — extremely political correct there — but that the Heat don't want this turning into a best-of-three series, either.

Speaking of James, he was asked today if he MUST win the NBA finals MVP award to validate his decision to join the Heat. Here's his full response:

"That's ridiculous," James said. "I'm here to win. That's all it's about. Individual accolades take care of itself. I've got two MVP trophies sitting in my house back in Ohio and I haven't won anything. It doesn't matter to me. It's all about a team game and this is the ultimate team prize right here, just trying to win the NBA championship. So I don't really care. I could trade in my last two MVP trophies to have a ring. I don't care about individual accolades to solidify myself in the NBA or whatever they're talking about. It's ridiculous."

So there.

Scheme-wise, don't look for the Heat to change much. The Mavs will clearly play a lot more zone if Barea is getting a ton of minutes.

And tonight, we'll add a new wrinkle to this blog. Hit me with your questions at "ByTimReynolds" on Twitter, then keep checking here to see if I answer. I just might.

Tip off in about 30 minutes. Enjoy Game 4.