Heat sizzle turns to fizzle
Mavericks finish game on 12-0 run
DALLAS— If the volume of recent wins has been stunning, the variety of the recent losses has been sobering.
The Miami Heat have lost only three times over their last 19 games, each time to a team 10 or more games below .500, this time by a 96-89 count Monday night to the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center.
For all the confidence gained by the victories over the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and Atlanta Hawks, these are the ones that sting, with the Heat now six games below.500.
Against a Mavericks team that entered at 23-35 and had owner Mark Cuban talking on national radio a night earlier about tanking, Dallas rolled out its undersized lineup and rolled with the scoring of guard Seth Curry and forward Harrison Barnes.
Goran Dragic led the Heat with 24 points, with center Hassan Whiteside adding 19 points and 19 rebounds. Curry, brother of
Stephen, led Dallas with 29 points, with Barnes scoring 24.
After the Heat fell behind by 11 in the third quarter, Wayne Ellington’s second 3-pointer of the fourth quarter drew the Heat within 84-83 with 6:26 to play. A Dion Waiters 3-pointer then put the Heat up 86-84. Dragic then followed with a 3-pointer for an 89-84 Heat lead with 4:39 to play.
Curry responded with a jumper to draw the Mavericks within 89-86. The Heat then were called for a delay-of-game technical foul for breaking the huddle late, with Curry’s free throw drawing Dallas within 89-87. The Mavericks were awarded the free throw because it was the Heat’s second such violation of the game.
Then, with 1:52 to play, Curry converted a 3-pointer for a 90-89Dallas lead, with a Dragic turnover following on the other end, possession awarded to the Mavericks on video review.
Heat guard Tyler Johnson then fouled Barnes with 1:16 to play, with the former Warriors forward converting both free throws for a 92-89 Dallas lead.
Another video review left the ball in Heat possession, with Waiters barely grazing the rim on a 3-point attempt that went out of bounds with 55.9 seconds to play.
But after a defensive stop, the Heat again were off on a 3-point attempt, this time with James Johnson off.
The Heat then fouled Wesley Matthews with 24.3 seconds left, with the Dallas guard converting both free throws for a 94-89 lead.
With backup center Willie Reed out with ankle bursitis, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra went with backup forward Okaro White as his backup center, playing him early in the second quarter against Nerlens Noels.
That left Udonis Haslem again a spectator, even with Reed back in South Florida.
Spoelstra also continued to work Josh Richardson back into his mix in his third game back, again playing him as his fifth guard.
A Matthews 3-pointer with 3:52 left in the third period pushed the Mavericks to a 73-63 lead, with a pair of Curry jumpers later making it 78-67.
The Mavericks then went into the fourth quarter up 78-69, with Curry up to 23 points by that stage.
With Barnes scoring 16 first-half points, the Mavericks pushed back froman early 14-point deficit to a 55-54 halftime lead. Dragic paced the Heat with 14 first-half points.
As he has done during the teams’ rivalry, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle turned to a zone defense in the second period, with the Mavericks outscoring the Heat 33-23 in the quarter.
Carlisle went into the game concerned about the Heat’s draw-and-kick game, instead willing to concede certain spot-up jumper, with the Heat 5 of 8 on 3-pointers in the first half.
The Heat committed turnovers on their first three possessions, but then pushed their lead to 14 in the opening period behind the inside play of Whiteside before going into the second quarter up 31-22.
Whiteside had nine points and six rebounds in the first quarter when defended mostly by Nowitzki in Dallas’ undersized lineup.
Mavericks guard Seth Curry shoots against Heat center Hassan Whiteside during the second half. He paced the Mavericks with 29 points.
Heat forward James Johnson attempts to block Mavericks guard Seth Curry’s shot during the first half.