Miami’s defensive chops were on display early, as they forced turnovers and frustrated Luka Doncic with constant switching. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long, with Miami stagnant on offense the Mavericks raced out to a 10 point lead off some ridiculous shots from Luka Doncic. With Dallas on a 13-3 run, Jimmy went from working in the midrange to attacking the paint. But it wasn’t enough with Dallas really firing on all cylinders early thanks to Luka Doncic and Reggie Bullock.
Still, despite Dallas’ offensive play, the Heat chipped away to stay in it with some hard-nosed play by Jimmy, Dedmon, and Robinson. The Heat didn’t score any sexy buckets but chipped away enough to stay right in it even without capturing momentum completely. The Heat double-downed on their defense putting Caleb Martin in the game, but with Jimmy and Bam out it forced Herro, to do well...some heroics. He’d hit a big shot at the end of the first.
Miami went into the second down six.
Things picked up in the second quarter for the Heat, with Lowry getting on the board with a nice three and Bam finally doing some work inside. A Herro three cut the deficit to just two, and then another gave Miami the lead and momentum. With so many slandering Herro for over a year, it’s great seeing him step up his game to silence the doubters. Herro didn't stop there, sneaking into the key for a beautiful close-range bucket.
Even with Herro surging, Miami’s defense still struggled to guard the three allowing Luka, Hardaway Jr., and others to keep things tied. Luckily, Miami started to hit some threes of their own with PJ Tucker getting open, and picking up the pace to score in transition. That coupled with the fact that Herro was terrorizing the Mav’s defense (he had 17 points in the half) allowed Miami to steal back the lead.
Dallas made a late half push thanks to Luka and Jalen Brunson, but big shots from Lowry and Dedmon gave the Heat an eight-point lead to end the half.
A Duncan three and Bam slam off an alley-oop would set the tone for the Heat to start the second half. Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry would continue the momentum as Jimmy willed himself to the free-throw line and Lowry continued to hit some big three-point looks. Miami’s defense really picked up, stifling the Mavs at every turn and finally taking away open three-point looks.
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Herro returned and picked up where he left off towards the end of the third keeping the Heat ahead by a wide margin. The only thing working for Dallas was really Luka, who hit some baskets but grew frustrated by the Heat defense.
The Heat reserves did a solid job closing out the quarter, but a Jalen Brunson buzzer-beater to close the third put a damper on things slightly. Still, the Heat took an 11 point lead into the fourth.
The Mavs came out swinging to start the fourth with big Bullock three, Frank Ntilikina look, and a huge Brunson bucket. Just like that, the Mavs were back within four points making a 14-4 run without Luka Doncic. It didn’t help that the Heat had slowed on offense. Thankfully, Lowry would once again lead the Heat back into rhythm hitting a nice bucket, and getting Bam to the line. He also hit another three (six tonight for Lowry) to put a dagger in the Mavs as the Heat went up 14.
After their hot start to the quarter, the Mavericks looked tired. Luka did his best to will them back into the ball game but it wasn’t enough with Tyler, Kyle, and Bam continuing to hit buckets on the other end. With the game out of reach, Gabe Vincent, Udonis Haslem, and Yurt would check in the game signifying the fifth straight win for the Miami Heat. This team is the real deal.