The Miami Heat pushed through a late surge by the Dallas Mavericks to win the game 110-104. Behind LeBron James' 39 points, the Heat improved to 6-3 on the season with their next game in Charlotte on Saturday night.
The Heat got off to a good start on Friday night scoring 60 first half points. LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh led the way in the first half combining for 39 points. But the second half saw them cool down a bit, and it allowed the Mavericks to come within reach. For much of the game, Miami had a comfortable lead, but Dallas took a 72-70 lead late in the third quarter and Miami had to work hard to bring it back.
It was a close game winding down as well, and after James' fadeaway one legged (Dirk Nowtizki style) jumper, Miami pulled away. Miami played without Udonis Haslem and Ray Allen, who will also likely miss the game on Saturday. They also played the last half of the fourth quarter without Mario Chalmers who was ejected for a Flagrant-2 foul on Nowtizki when he gave a forearm to his face. It's the second time this week that Chalmers has had such a type of incident.
Chalmers said after the game, "It was a terrible call. Dalembert had my arm so I had to get my arm free. There was nothing intentional about it. I didn't even see Dirk."
There were plenty of bright spots for the Heat offensively. Michael Beasley slowed down a bit, scoring only six points in 16 minutes, but his activity was still welcome. Rashard Lewis played a strong game and played down the stretch over Shane Battier. Lewis played 29 minutes and had 11 points. He played strong defense on Dirk as well. Norris Cole also had 11 off the bench.
The story of the game was the big two of Miami. Obviously LeBron had a terrific game totaling 39 points, a season high. He also had 6 rebounds and 4 assists in the win. James iced the game from the free throw line at the end. But more than that, Dwyane Wade played a really strong game. Wade had 17 points, 13 of which came in the first half where he looked terrific. Wade also had 8 assists, 5 rebounds, and a career-high 8 steals. It seemed Wade was always finding the right place or swiping at the right time to get the ball.
Dirk's 28 points led the Mavericks who also had 20 from Monta Ellis and 21 from Vince Carter. But the 24 turnovers that the Mavericks had plagued them throughout the game. For the first time in a while, Miami struggled distributing the ball, tallying only 17 assists. But they had an incredible 19 steals as a team.
The Heat were good enough for tonight, but they still have a ways to go. Beating the now 5-4 Mavericks at home in a close game doesn't spell unstoppable for the back-to-back champs. They need Ray Allen to come back from illness and solidify that second unit, and they need Bosh to be more assertive. Bosh had 14 points tonight but only grabbed 4 rebounds and he didn't have an assist.
LeBron James shot 14-18 tonight and now is shooting 61% from the field for the season. He now has back-to-back games of 30+ points.
The Heat will play the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night.
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