The Miami Heat face off against the Dallas Mavericks tonight to ring in the new year. The Heat have received an extra day off after playing four games in five nights, losing their last one to the Memphis Grizzlies on the 29th of December. Dallas is coming off arguably their most impressive win of the season, handing juggernaut Golden State their second loss of the season (with the rather large caveat that Stephen Curry did not play).
Deron Williams, who missed the last four games for Dallas, has been upgraded to probable and will likely start. J.J. Barea had filled in ably in his absence and will likely return to his bench role. In Williams and Wesley Johnson, Dallas has two players who fire over 11 threes per game and sink a solid 36 percent of them.
For Miami, it's expected that Justise Winslow should make his return after two missed games with a bum ankle, but the team has been mum on his condition as of this writing. They've lost both games without him this season and it's been a while since the Heat bench has been at full strength. Even with Winslow and Johnson now healthy alongside Gerald Green, Miami's still missing Josh McRoberts. Miami initially replaced him with Udonis Haslem, but have, in recent games, played Amar'e Stoudemire.
Dallas is pretty middle-of-the-pack in a variety of categories and Miami's best bet to win would be to exploit the Mavericks minus defenders. Dirk Nowitzki can still score with the best of them, but at age 37, he doesn't move well defensively anymore. Zaza Pachulia can rebound and draw charges, but is a non-threat as a deterrent at the rim. This should be a game where Chris Bosh leads Miami in shots.
Heat (18-13) @ Mavericks (19-13)
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami FL
Friday, Jan 1 7:30 PM EST