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Heat hang on to beat Mavericks 99-95

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Despite nearly going off the rails at times, Miami was able to hang on and beat the Mavericks in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Miami Heat Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Heat started this one off strong with Whiteside doing all the work on offense. The Mavericks initially elected to run the offense through Dirk, but he struggled forcing them to get more creative. Despite having 7 points in the first five minutes Hassan would exit the game with a hurt ankle, he would later return.

Miami’s defense was very solid in the first as they forced Dallas into taking questionable midrange jumpers, and cut off access to the key. The Heat continued their offensive assault consistently throughout the quarter with contributions coming from Dragic as well as both Johnsons. Miami would end the quarter with an impressive scoring run, but Dallas would also fight back somewhat.

The Mavericks, led by Harrison Barnes were a lot more aggressive to start the second quarter and as a result clawed their way right back into the ball game. The Heat reserves were sloppy on both ends, prompting a timeout and an early change. Miami would regain some steam and as a result the lead would fluctuate many times throughout the quarter. Though the Heat would enter periodic scoring droughts, they did a great job of breaking through them thanks to strong play by Tyler Johnson, Goran Dragic and James Johnson. In this quarter the Heat really fell victim to Dallas’ slow pace, though they did manage to speed things up as the half came to a close.

The Mavericks were on full assault to start the second half, taking the lead and feasting on made baskets. Miami on the other hand struggled to find a rhythm offensively and as a result took some questionable shots. Fortunately the Heat would find their groove and go on a great 14-2 run, and retake the lead. Miami’s team play was exceptional with all Heat players contributing. Dallas would find life once again as the quarter came to a close thanks to some great shooting by JJ Barea. The Heat would enter the fourth and final quarter down three points.

Despite a slow start to the fourth quarter from both teams, it was Goran Dragic that would steal the lead back for Miami. Miami would continue to build on that lead thanks to some great plays by James Johnson and Willie Reed. Miami looked fantastic on defense, and pumped up the pace on offense delivering in transition. Dallas would battle back, slow the pace down to a crawl and tie the game midway through the quarter.

Miami would jump back into the driver’s seat to take control once again with some phenomenal three point shooting by Goran Dragic. Dragic has the uncanny ability to pull Miami back from the brink of failure and that was on full display tonight. Tyler Johnson would go on to hit a huge three with less than two minutes left in the game, but some sloppy play by the Heat would lead to a frantic finish. Goran Dragic would miss two essential free throws and Miami would make a crucial mistake allowing Dirk to shoot three free throws. Following Dirk’s shots, Miami would have some major issues inbounding the ball. Thankfully, the Heat would figure things out and cap the game off with a win thanks to made free throws by both Tyler Johnson and Goran Dragic.