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GAME PREVIEW: Miami Heat (28-21) play the Dallas Mavericks (16-34) to start a four-game road trip

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Averaging 91 points in their last three games, the offensively challenged Heat look for ways to break out on the scoring end with a decisive victory in Dallas.

Charlotte Hornets v Miami Heat Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

The Miami Heat (28-21) face the Dallas Mavericks (16-34) for second and final time this season. This four-game road trip includes a stop in Cleveland and the Heat’s only nationally-televised game in February versus the Philadelphia 76ers.

Game Information

When: Monday, January 29 at 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: AmericanAirlines Center, Dallas, TX

TV: Fox Sports Sun

Radio: WAXY 790AM, WAQI 710AM (Spanish)

Win probability: ESPN predictor has Miami as underdogs with a 41% chance to win.

Probable Starters

HEAT: Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, James Johnson, Hassan Whiteside

MAVERICKS: Dennis Smith Jr., Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki, Maxi Kleber

Injury Report

HEAT: Rodney McGruder (out, tibia surgery), Okaro White (out, foot surgery), Dion Waiters (out, ankle sprain)

MAVERICKS: Devin Harris (questionable, personal reasons), J.J. Barea (questionable, oblique)

Scouting Report

In their last 10 games Miami is 6-4 and Dallas 3-7. The Heat is 15-11 on the road, and Dallas 10-17 at home. Miami has losing record, 8-10, against Western Conference teams. Dallas does better against Eastern Conference teams, 8-11, than Western Conference ones, 8-23.

Dragic leads the Heat in points per game (17.1) and assists (4.8), Whiteside in rebounds (11.8) and blocks (1.8), Richardson in steals (1.3). Barnes leads the Mavericks in points (18.4) and rebounds (6.8), Barea in assists (5.8), Matthews in steals (1.1), Mejri in blocks (1.2).

The ESPN NBA Power Index (BPI) has the Heat at 19th ranked slightly ahead of the Mavericks at 21th. Look for a defensively-minded contest as Miami’s 94.8 points per game (PPG) over the last 5 games, is dead last in the NBA, with Dallas next-to-last at 97 PPG.

A battle of the benches looms as both the Heat and Mavericks starters were outscored by -27 points and -22 points respectively, over the previous five games. During the same span, the Heat and Mavericks bench players managed to pull out a few wins by outscoring their equals by 16 and 13 points respectively.

As a note, every single Heat team in franchise history with a Relative ORtg of -2.6 (the current squad’s number) or lower, never made the playoffs. To get past the first round in the playoffs, the Heat needed to be at least close to league average on offense. Any season Miami was a below average team on offense, a second-round exit was the ceiling.

In their last match-up on Dec. 22, 2017, Miami defeated Dallas 113-101, as Miami’s bench players demonstrated how to score points. With Heat starters Dragic, Whiteside and James Johnson all out, Richardson went 11 of 14, Bam Adebayo 6 of 9, Tyler Johnson 8 of 12, and Wayne Ellington 10 of 16, including 8 3-pointers.