After a relatively long layoff for the Heat, and even longer for Heat fans waiting to see their team in person, this game was an absolute let down. I'm not sure which was harder for the Heat, scoring or defending. Either way, it was embarrassing at times for the home team and now Miami has lost 11 in a row to Dallas. If there ever was a game where you see how important Jermaine O'Neal is to this team...this was that game.
The Heat began this game like a team who hadn't played in a while, looking slow and uninspired. They didn't make a field goal until there was 6:24 left in the 1st quarter, starting the game 0-for-10. That allowed Dallas to get out to a 13-1 lead, putting the Heat in a big hole before the game really got going. By the time the Heat reached double digits in scoring the Mavs already had 24 points. A late 11-4 run by Miami got them back to within 10 points late in the first quarter, but they still ended up trailing by 12 after 1.
The Heat kept their foot on the gas when the 2nd quarter started, scoring the first 5 points and using a 9-3 run to close the gap to 6. Miami kept on pushing but their defense was a little suspect. More then once the Heat left men unattended in the paint resulting in easy points for Dallas. While he racks up the blocks, Joel Anthony just isn't the defender that Jermaine O'Neal is, mostly due to his positioning. Anthony did finish the first half with 4 blocks, but that would be the same amount he'd finish the game with.
The Heat were able to get the Mavs lead all the way down to 3, but were unable to get over that final hump. Instead, Dallas used a handful of late free throws to push their lead back up to 6 just in time for halftime. Still, after falling behind by 15 points in the 1st quarter and being without their starting center, the Heat had to be somewhat pleased with where they were at after the opening half.
The 2nd half got off to a real crappy start. Miami was taking and missing shots from the outside instead of driving with the ball. Dallas was doing what they wanted on offense and a lot of it had to do with Anthony and Beasley looking lost at times on defense. Dallas pushed their lead back up to 15 with 3:24 left in the quarter when Miami went on an 8-1 run and gained some momentum as the 3rd quarter drew to a close, but a crucial 5-point swing would prove costly. Udonis Haslem missed a jumper that would've gotten the Heat within 6, then Jason Terry promptly hit a tree-pointer at the other end to put the Mavs up 11 heading into the final quarter.
The Mavs started the 4th quarter the same way they did the 3rd, outscoring the Heat early to expand their lead even more. 6 straight points with just under 8 minutes left got Miami back within 11, but their defense was playing so poorly that it was hard to imagine any kind of comeback. The telling stat that indicated the Mavs doing whatever they wanted on offense was that they were assisting on almost every basket.
The Heat never got close in the final period, dropping their record to 11-10 and sending a nice crowd at the AAA home very disappointed. I think this game would've been much different if the Heat had Jermaine O'Neal in the lineup. Erick Dampier absolutely dominated down low, scoring 20 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. He also had 2 blocks, but I was more impressed with his foul shooting. A center that can make free throws....what a concept!
- Miami started the game just 1-of-14 form the field, then followed it up by making 14 of their next 18 to get back into the game.
- Udonis Haslem had his best game in a while, going 6-for-6 for 13 points and 4 boards in the first half. His first miss would come on his 9th shot, and he finished 9-of-10, good for 22 points and 10 rebounds.
- Two other Heat players had double doubles, with Mike Beasley coming away with 16 and 11 and Dwyane Wade finishing with 28 and 11. You could tell at halftime that they would both probably end up with dub-dubs; Wade had 8 boards at the half and SuperCoolBeas had 7.
- Wade went 0-for-2 from beyond the arc and has now missed 20 of his last 22 three-pointers.
- Dorell Wright played 29 minutes but wasn't really a factor. He did miss another dunk though, which is becoming very annoying. I think he's missed a dunk in each of the past 3 or 4 games.
- Dallas finished with 30 assists on 38 field goals. That is an amazing stat for the Mavs, and shows that A- the Mavericks are a great passing team with a lot of offensive chemistry and B- the Heat really let Dallas do whatever they wanted on offense.
- The Mavericks have now won 6-srtaight games at the AAA. But hey...we've still got rings.
- This loss dropped Miami to 6-6 at home this season after starting 4-0. Their last home win was on November 22nd against the Hornets, 19 days ago.
- Where was Jamaal Magloire? Anyone...? Anyone...? Bueller....?
The Heat get a day to think about this one, then they're back in action on Sunday. Memphis will be the opponent with the usual ‘early' tipoff time coming at 6pm.