Mavericks come to Miami and end Heat's win streak

LeBron James found it very tough to get his offensive game going against the Mavericks strong defense.

Even though the result wasn't anything that Heat fans wanted to see, that was one hell of a game.  Now that the winning streak over, I find myself trying to look at the bigger picture.  Yeah...it sucks to lose, especially a game like this where the win was right in our grasp.  Dallas is one of the top teams in the league and has been giant killers all season.  With this being the first loss for Miami since they began playing so well, the upcoming games against Phoenix and the Lakers will be a great way to test the resolve of the Heat. 

The game couldn't have gotten off to a worse start for Miami, who before they knew it found themselves trailing 14-2.   The fans had been hushed and the Heat was reeling when Erik Spoelstra called a timeout with 2:40 left in the quarter and Miami down 23-10.  I don't know what was said during that timeout but whatever it was certainly got the Heat's attention. 

Miami closed the quarter on a 12-0 run that would get stretched to 17-0 in the early minutes of the 2nd, giving the Heat their first lead of the night and more importantly getting them right back into the game.  Dallas immediately responded with a 12-2 run of their own, tilting this seesaw battle back in their favor. 

One of the craziest sequences I've ever seen came with about 2 minutes left in the 1st half.  It started with Mike Miller's first rebound of the season, off of a Nowitzki missed 3.  Miami would then miss 7 straight shots...but every single miss was followed by an offensive rebound.  Finally, after over a minute of possessing the ball, Mario Chalmers drilled his 3rd triple of the first half to end the madness give the Heat a lead that they would carry into halftime. 

The 2nd half started out a bit like the 1st with both teams going on runs.  Dallas went on 10-0 run to go up by 7 which was immediately followed by a 13-0 run by the Heat.  A very good sign was that LeBron James finally got involved in the scoring during that Miami scoring stretch.  He was held scoreless during the opening half after being limited to just 12 minutes due to foul trouble, but he drilled a pair of triples to get himself going during that 13-0 Heat run. 

The difference in the 4th quarter was the bench play of Jason Terry.  He was close to invisible though the first 36 minutes of the game but exploded for 19 points in the final 12 minutes.  Between Terry's scoring and the energy and rebounding of Shawn Marion, the Heat just couldn't match what Dallas brought to the table down the stretch.  The Matrix collected a season high 13 rebounds, 5 of which came on the offensive glass. 

GAME NOTES

  • Miami took a season-high 18 3-pointers in the 1st half and a total of 31 triples, also a season-high. 
  • Another sign that the Heat were out of their element...they had just 5 fast break points.  Credit has to go to the Mavericks defense.
  • Close games like this usually aren't going to be won by a team that makes just 68% (17-of-25) from the foul line.  The Heat did make 13-of-17 in the 4th quarter after taking just 8 free throws in quarters 1 through 3. 
  • The Big 3 didn't get as big of a night as usual, combining for just 60 points.  Chris Bosh and LeBron James both failed to reach 20 points, scoring 19 apiece. 
  • Mike Miller saw his first action of the season late in the 2nd quarter and came up with 4 rebounds in 2½ minutes.  His missed all 4 of his shot attempts though, all from downtown. 
  • This was Dwyane Wade's 500th game in the NBA.
  • James Jones had gone two straight games without hitting a trey, but hit three shots from downtown against the Mavericks.   
  • Also sinking three triples was Mario Chalmers, though they all came in the 1st half.  That makes 11 in his last 4 games. 
  • Rio also continues to be perfect from the charity stripe, making all 4 of his free throws against Dallas.  He is now 16-for-16 on the season. 

For the first time in a long time, the Heat will get two days in-between games before playing a pair of very tough road opponents later this week.  Thursday night they are in Phoenix to play the Suns before heading to Los Angeles for the much-anticipated Christmas day matchup against the Lakers.  Ironically, the last time the Heat had multiple days between games, they played the Suns.

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