The Miami Heat began a 4-game road trip with a win over the the Dallas Mavericks, 95-88.
After the first quarter, the Heat took control of the game with a lead and then didn’t look back...for a while. The Heat held a 18 point third quarter lead and had the game right where they wanted it. But a fourth quarter drought had them give it almost all back. Dallas cut it to three with 45 seconds to go, but a layup by Goran Dragic pushed it to a two possession game. The Heat were able to do what they needed to do to improve to 29-21 on the season.
The Heat did it with a steady dose of Hassan Whiteside who was efficient and productive as the Mavs tried to guard him 39 year-old Dirk Nowitzki. Whiteside had a double-double by halftime and finished with 25 points and 14 rebonds. The Heat forced the Mavs into turnovers early that helped them get a good lead.
Wayne Ellington has now hit over 50 threes this month joining only himself (last month) and Tim Hardaway for players to do that in franchise history, and he still has one game to go. Ellington had 9 points.
Josh Richardson had 14 points and a career-high 4 blocks as his parents sat a few rows back and watched their son play. Richardson was the only Heat player to log over 30 minutes tonight and he played 38.
The Mavs had balanced scoring, but it was the Heat’s defense that was the story. Holding the Mavs to 88 points and under 39% shooting, that’s been the story for the Heat this season when they are successful.
The Heat had only four players in double figures, but it was enough to win. Harrison Barnes had 20 points for Mavericks who also had four players in double figures. The Heat held rookie Dennis Smith Jr. to 4-17 shooting on the night.
Miami next plays in Cleveland on Wednesday night in a critical matchup against the Cavaliers.