Heat can’t break streak vs. Mavs

By STEPHEN HAWKINS
AP Sports Writer

DALLAS (AP) — While Dirk Nowitzki drove for a layup during

Dallas’ game-turning run to start the second half, he split a gap

between Dwyane Wade and LeBron James — with all three of All-Stars in

the air at the same time — to get to the basket.

Even with Wade’s new help in Miami, the Heat still can’t beat the Mavericks in the regular season.

After losing for the fourth time in five games, 106-95 on Saturday

night, the Heat (9-8) had a players-only meeting. That comes a month

into the season that James and Dallas-born Chris Bosh joined Wade in

Miami.

“We felt like we needed it.

Sometimes it’s a feel. We haven’t had a team-only meeting. We’re

playing like 9-8 and we needed it,” Wade said. “This is a new team, a

new group of guys. Guys need to understand each other and hear each

other talk. We all feel better after the talk we had. “

At the same point a year ago, Miami was 10-7.

“It’s tough because I know the potential of this team, the vision I had when this team was put together,” Wade said.

Caron Butler scored seven of his 23 points in that third quarter spurt

for the Mavericks, who haven’t lost a regular-season game against Miami

in 6 years.

James and Wade finally appeared

in the interview room about 45 minutes after the game. Neither would

get into specifics of what was said in the closed locker room.

“It was a well-needed team meeting where everybody had a chance to get

off whatever they had on their chest or in their head about us figuring

things out,” James said. “Right now we are a 9-8 team and we have to

own up to that. Does our record speak of the quality of team we can

become? I don’t think so. But right now we’re 9-8 and we’re playing

like that.”

The Heat were coming off a

99-90 home win Friday night over Philadelphia, which has the worst

record in the Eastern Conference. That snapped a three-game losing

streak.

Dallas has won 13 consecutive

games over Miami since March 2004, and 16 of 17. That doesn’t include

the 2006 NBA Finals, when the Heat won in six games after losing the

first two.

While Miami missed its first 10

shots after halftime, Dallas scored 13 consecutive points and led 64-49

when Butler hit a 3-pointer with 7:55 left in the third quarter. That

came only 30 seconds after Butler’s layup on an assist from Jason Kidd.

Dallas played for the fourth time in five nights, having ended

significant winning streaks by its last two opponents. After ending

Oklahoma City’s five-game winning streak Wednesday, the Mavericks ended

San Antonio’s 12-game winning streak Friday night.

“This was a big week for us,” Kidd said. “It’s a big four wins,

especially on back-to-backs. … We’ve been telling (Butler) to just

catch and shoot and take that first one, and then go into your tricks

and the game will be a lot easier for him. Tonight, we went to him and

he delivered.”

James had 23 points, making only 5 of 19 field goals. Bosh and Wade both had 22 points.

Nowitzki had 22 points for Dallas, while Tyson Chandler had 14 points and 17 rebounds.

When Wade got up off the floor after Chandler’s slam dunk that made it

73-55 with 5:35 left in the third quarter, the frustration was evident

on Wade’s face. Later in the quarter, Wade was discussing something

with a referee while holding the ball near the baseline — then tossed

the ball to another referee at midcourt.

After being down by 18 points in the third quarter, the Heat managed to

get within 94-89 on Mario Chalmers’ 3-pointer with 4:24 left in the

game. But Chalmers fouled Nowitzki on the next possession and the

Mavericks star made both free throw. Wade’s bad pass was stolen by

Jason Terry which led to another Kidd pass to Butler for a baseline

jumper that made it 98-89.

Kidd had 13

assists. That included four in the opening stretch after halftime, the

last two to Butler before Miami called a timeout.

“We made a point to get out of the locker room and get loose, show them

that we would be warm and we wanted to pick up the pace,” Mavericks

coach Rick Carlisle said. “Getting the game going up and down is

something that worked for us tonight.”

Miami finally got some second-half points when Bosh made a 19-foot jumper on a pass from James 4 minutes after halftime.

The Heat had their biggest lead after Wade scored the first five points

in a 10-0 run right after re-entering the game in the second quarter to

make it 38-32 with 7 minutes left in the first half.

Three minutes later, Butler’s long jumper on another assist from Kidd

made it 41-40. The best Miami could do after that was tie the game on

47 on a three-point play by James, when he grabbed an offensive rebound

and scored while being fouled.

Notes:

Erick Dampier, the former Mavericks center, made his Miami debut. He

played eight minutes with one rebound. The Heat signed him this week

after their leading rebounder, Udonis Haslem, had surgery to repair a

torn ligament in his left foot. … Miami’s last win over Dallas in the

regular season was 119-118 in overtime at home on March 26, 2004. The

Heat have lost 10 in a row in Dallas since a 109-95 victory on March 2,

2002. … Wade made a 35-foot jumper at the end of the first quarter.

But it came after the buzzer and didn’t count. It was 26-all then.

Updated November 27, 2010