Mavericks 106, Heat 93

Good thing the NBA title isn’t decided in the regular season, or

the Miami Heat probably wouldn’t have a championship banner swaying

from their rafters.

Unless it’s June, they just can’t beat the Dallas Mavericks.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 points, Erick Dampier finished with 20

points and 17 rebounds, and the Mavericks added to Miami’s home

woes with an 106-93 win Friday night – their 11th straight

regular-season victory over the Heat since March 2004.

“They’re a good team,” said Heat guard Dwyane Wade, the MVP of

Miami’s six-game win over Dallas in the 2006 NBA finals. “It’s as

simple as that.”

Jason Terry scored 16 points, J.J. Barea added 12 points and 10

assists, and former Heat forward Shawn Marion scored 12 for

Southwest Division-leading Dallas. The Mavs never trailed and are

9-4 on the road, more wins away from home than anyone so far in the

Western Conference.

“We were fortunate they missed some shots early they normally

make,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “As the game went on, our

shot making was pretty good.”

Wade scored 28 points and matched a career high with 11 rebounds

for the Heat, 2-5 at home since Nov. 10. Udonis Haslem made his

first eight shots and finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds for

otherwise cool-shooting Miami, which started 0 for 10 from the

floor and was in a double-digit hole by the time the game was 5

minutes old.

Michael Beasley added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Heat,

who got 11 points from Mario Chalmers. Jason Kidd finished with 10

assists for Dallas, which had 30 as a team compared with 14 by

Miami.

“Give them credit, they played well,” Heat coach Erik

Spoelstra said. “They moved the ball, 30 assists, they played

unselfishly. They played good basketball tonight.”

Wade shot only 8 of 24, and left with a brace protecting his

right hand. Wade said he got hurt after trying to get past Nowitzki

for a layup and falling hard to the floor.

The Mavericks had a 24-7 lead with 3:28 left in the first, and

every time the Heat drew near, Dallas hit the gas and pulled away

again.

Miami got within three points five times in the second quarter,

never any closer. It was 53-46 at the half, and the start of the

third quarter was nearly as dominant for Dallas as the start of the

first.

The Mavs opened the second half on a 10-4 run, a pair of

3-pointers from Kidd – his only field goals in 36 minutes – serving

as the big blows. Dallas’ starting five combined to shoot 8 for 10

from the floor in the third period, stretching the lead back to 15

at one point before settling on an 84-73 edge entering the final

quarter.

“It’s very difficult for a team to come back from a deficit

like that,” Barea said. “Sometimes it is very tiring. I believe

they got tired.”

And with boxing star Floyd Mayweather Jr. courtside, just a few

steps from the Dallas bench, the Mavs landed the knockout blow.

Drew Gooden came off the Mavericks’ bench to score five points

in the first 1:33 of the fourth quarter, the Dallas lead was

quickly built back to 17, and Miami’s fate was sealed.

“We knew they were going to fight back,” Nowitzki said. “Any

time you have a player like Wade and talented players around him,

they aren’t just going to lay down.”

Take away Haslem’s 9 for 10 night, and the rest of the Heat were

24 for 72 – just 33 percent. A four-day layoff following a West

coast trip probably didn’t help.

“Flat,” Wade said.

Miami was without starting center Jermaine O’Neal, who missed

the game to remain with relatives in South Carolina following a

family funeral. He is expected to work out Saturday in Miami and

play Sunday when the Heat host the Memphis Grizzlies.

They could have clearly used O’Neal against Dampier, who

controlled the paint.

“When you double team, you’re going to give up something,”

Dampier said. “They double-teamed Dirk tonight and it gave guys

open shots or hit me for easy shots around the basket.”

NOTES: Wade had 11 rebounds for the fifth time in his career.

The Heat are 2-3 in those games. … It was the seventh time

Dampier had at least 20 points with 15 rebounds in a game, the last

of those coming in 2006. … Dallas broke the 30-assist mark as a

team for the fourth time this season. … Quentin Richardson

started at small forward for Miami, not even lasting seven minutes.

Richardson has battled a hamstring strain in recent days. … Among

those in the crowd were Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino, a

regular at Heat games.