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Heat strike back with gritty 126-118 win versus Mavericks

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Miami retains the fourth spot in the East with the much-needed victory.

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Miami Heat finally took off after a big run to start the fourth quarter and held on in crunch time for the 126-118 victory against the visiting Dallas Mavericks on Friday night.

After hitting their lowest point of the season with a deflating loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves to start their current five-game homestand, the Heat got back in the win column by outgunning the Mavs, limiting their turnovers, and putting together just enough defensive stops to hold off Luke Doncic on his 21st birthday and a hot-shooting Seth Curry, who poured in a career-high 37 points on 13-15 field goal shooting and 8-9 from long range.

Dallas scored 38 points in the third quarter as they sought to gain control of a game in which both teams were evenly matched to erase a 12-point Heat lead with a 14-2 run and a five-point lead. Miami countered with 38 points of their own in the fourth quarter, where the home team turned the game around by scoring the first 13 points of the quarter. By the midway point of the final quarter, the game could have been decided earlier but Curry kept the Mavs afloat while Doncic, who wasn’t a factor in the first half but bounced back after halftime, and Kristaps Porzingis remained lethal threats to send the Heat to their first home losing streak of the season.

Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 27 points and Duncan Robinson scored 24 points, going 6-9 from beyond the arc. Kendrick Nunn and Goran Dragic each had 16 points while Bam Adebayo contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds. Dragic and Doncic, who was celebrating his 21st birthday, welcomed hundreds of visiting Slovenian fans that came out to the AmericanAirlines Arena to see them play.

Though the Heat still have much work to do to get back to their consistent play from earlier in the season, it was an encouraging sign to see them raise their level of play when it mattered against a quality opponent.

Miami returns to action tomorrow night when they host the Brooklyn Nets at 7:30pm.