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Balanced effort propels Heat past Mavericks 93-90

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The Heat withstood a series of rallies behind a variety of plays to escape Dallas with a close victory.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

A night after giving up 115 points in a loss to the Houston Rockets, the Miami Heat bounced back with a gritty win over the Dallas Mavericks and swept the season series. With the return of Hassan Whiteside, the Heat had their primary starters back in the rotation for the first time since Jan. 6 against the Utah Jazz. Dirk Nowitzki wouldn't let the Heat escape easily as the 7-footer dominated the second half but Miami found ways to ensure the win down the stretch.

Chandler Parsons loudly opened the game, scoring about half of the Mavericks' first quarter points. Looking like he was in for a big night, the former Florida Gator had 11 points and five rebounds in the period but would quiet down later. Chris Bosh's eight kept the game tied, 21-21, after one.

Miami got the services of Hassan Whiteside back in the second quarter and it couldn't have looked better. Despite coming off the bench, the center looked fresh and energized as he had a solid first half, going 4/4 on eight points and two blocks. His thunderous dunk half-way through the second was received well by Heat Nation. Dirk Nowitzki and Zaza Pachulia kept the Mavs alive in the period as well, scoring eight and seven respectively. Miami held a slight, 47-46, lead at half-time, gearing up for a tight finish.

A flashback of the 2006 NBA Finals would commence in the third quarter as Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade burst out of the gates. Dirk scored 11 of  Dallas' first 13 points to open the third quarter and take command of the game. Wade, after an abysmal two point first half, got it going; finding his shot, the guard scored 10 points in the quarter and pulled Miami within and eventually ahead. To help Wade, Amar'e Stoudemire stepped up to the plate. A 12-0 Heat run started by a Stoudemire layup ended with back-to-back blocks for the 33-year-old who played the second half of last season in Dallas. The Heat led 74-65 after three quarters.

As the fourth quarter opened, the Mavericks hit the Heat with more runs. Going on 10-2 barrage, the Mavs once again caught up, trailing by just one, 75-76, after a Justin Anderson three-pointer. Miami responded, with scores from Bosh, Wade, Justise Winslow and more. Perhaps the biggest contribution came from Loul Deng who blocked a Dirk fadeaway with just under two minutes and hit a big three with one minute left to put the Heat up by five.

Following a clutch three-pointer Dirk drained from the other side of town, Wade went to the free throw line and split a pair of free throws. Down by three with 15 seconds left the Mavs opted not to take a time-out as Raymond Felton quickly took the ball up court. Felton, who had 10 of his 11 points in the fourth, couldn't get the ball to Dirk and ended up launching a long three to only bounce off the rim. The miss gave Miami a 93-90 win in Dallas, where they've won the last five years.

Bosh led the Heat with 20 points and Wade added 18 points and eight rebounds. Deng had 15 points and five rebounds and Goran Dragic added seven points and assists each. Whiteside, in his return, put up 10 points, 9 rebounds and five blocks in 17 minutes off the bench. Stoudemire, whose been replacing Whiteside in the starting lineup, had a season high 4 blocks.

Nowitzki led the Mavs with 28 points on 10-21 shooting. Zaza Pachulia added 10 points and 15 rebounds and Parsons had just 12 points and seven rebounds after a solid start. Point guards J.J Barea and Raymond Felton chipped in with 11 a piece.

The Mavs (28-24) were limited to just 39% shooting, widely due to the defensive pressure Miami sustained throughout the game. The Heat out-rebounded (54) and out-blocked (11) the Mavs in both categories. Compared to their awful 17 turnover game in Houston, Miami took care of the ball much more and committed just seven turnovers as well as giving up 25 less points on Wednesday.

The Heat (28-22) conclude their three game road trip on Friday as they take on the Charlotte Hornets @ 7:00 P.M.