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Shorthanded Heat host Dallas Mavericks

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The absences of Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng make defeating Dallas a tall order.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

When the Miami Heat went into Dallas Nov. 9, built a 22-point lead and won 105-96, it seemed like the Heat had recovered well from LeBron James' departure. Luol Deng scored 30 points on 13-of-19 shooting from the field, and Dwyane Wade had 20 points and 10 assists that night.

Since that night, injuries have depleted the roster and made this season a disappointment. And Deng and Wade will not play Friday night at 8 p.m. against the Dallas Mavericks.

As anyone could see from the fourth quarter of the Heat's loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Miami's offense falls apart without Wade. As fellow Hot Hot Hoops writer Brandon di Perno noted, Wade also finds opportunities for Hassan Whiteside to score.

If a Heat team couldn't defeat a middling Eastern Conference team like the Bucks without Wade and Deng, it will be especially difficult to beat a Western Conference playoff team. But Dallas is in a bit of a funk, having dropped their last four games. If the Mavericks come into the game with a lackadaisical attitude and Bosh plays well, Miami has a shot.