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Danny

Mavericks at HEAT Official Game Thread and Preview

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(Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon)

The Miami HEAT return from a four-game road trip to host the Dallas Mavericks tonight at AmericanAirlines Arena. The HEAT are 21-8 entering tonight, the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Mavericks are 13-19 and have lost eight of their last 10 games. Tip off is set for 7:30 PM; coverage on Sun Sports starts at 7 PM.

(Chat: http://fans.heat.nba.com/community/index.php?/chat/)

1. Since the last Dallas-Miami game, O.J. Mayo has only hit three threes and has had his three-point percentage dip to a much more reasonable 45.5 percent. Dallas also hasn’t won a game in that span. Coincidence?

Couper Moorhead: Hard to believe there can be much of a coincidence when Mayo was basically keeping the team’s offense afloat with those shots. Stop hitting more than half your threes when you have the ball in your hands more than anyone else on your team, there no way you can avoid an offensive dip. Combine that with Dallas’ inconsistent help defense – despite the typically strong scheming from Rick Carlisle – and the re-introduction of Nowitzki, who has been as rusty as you might expect, back into the mix and that’s the perfect recipe for a losing streak.

Danny Martinez: I’m going with no coincidence. The Mavericks’ start was surprising for a number of reasons, with Mayo’s shooting being near the top of the list. What he was doing was incredible, and the Mavericks needed every bit of it to keep pace in the Western Conference. Mayo’s shooting will probably dip some more, if his career numbers tell us anything. The Mavericks will have to find a way around it.

2. Dirk Nowitzki has also been back in the lineup. Is he going to be enough to push Dallas into the playoffs?

Couper: Dallas is only four games back of Minnesota and the eight spot in the Western Conference, so with three and a half months left to go there’s plenty of time for the Mavericks to get back into the playoff picture. But even if a couple of teams currently in the top-eight drop out, the Mavericks still have to top the Lakers and the Jazz – currently out of the playoffs – for one of those spots. If Nowitzki can regain his form in time then there’s a chance, but as good as Dirk can be he isn’t going to turn one of the league’s least-efficient defenses into one of its best. And that’s what will likely keep this team out of the postseason.

Danny: Doubtful. The Mavericks did well enough without him to keep the hope alive, but their recent struggles combined with strong play elsewhere in the conference make it an uphill climb. As they stand right now, the Warriors, Rockets and Trailblazers are playoff teams after not being so last season. The Timberwolves, Jazz and Lakers are right on Portland’s heels. Four games and four teams back from the eighth seed, it’s hard to see Dallas making the postseason. But stranger things have happened.

3. Is it concerning when Miami’s shooters go into mini-slumps?

Couper: Far from it. It’s expected, really. Ray Allen used to go into a one or two week funk every year in Boston, and every year the fans there would have a minor freak out about it, as if one of the greatest shooters in league history suddenly forgot how to shoot. Shooters have slumps because they take shots that go in less often, but that doesn’t mean they should stop shooting. In fact, what we too often ignore when shots aren’t falling is the process that is getting those shots. Are the shooters getting good passes? Are they getting proper time and space to shoot? Is the clock against them? There more than goes into a shot beyond whether or not it goes in.

Danny: Not at all. It’s unrealistic to expect a shooter to shoot the exact same percentage all season long. There are always peaks and valleys, that’s just the way it goes. For the HEAT, all the mini-slumps have seemed to coincide together, which is the frustrating part for fans. But that will change soon, possibly as soon as tonight. The HEAT have some of the best three-point shooters in the league on the roster. Those kinds of shooters don’t slump for long.

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OH YEAH! Time to show Dirk who the boss is once again! I hope the camera gets a good look at Mark Cuban after LeBron dunks over one of his lackeys!

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Miami Starters :

Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh

Inactive : Terrel Harris and Dexter Pittman

Dallas starters :

Darren Collison, O.J Mayo, Vince Carter, Shawn Marion and Chris Kaman

Inactive : Jared Cunningham and Brandan Wright

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I THINK THIS IS THE GAME...

THAT LEBRON GIVES WADE BACK THE MIAMI HEAT TEAM

DEFERS INTO MORE OF A MAGIC JOHNSON TYPE PLAYER,

WADE EVOLVES TO BECOME BETTER THAN MICHEAL JORDAN HIMSELF

SKYROCKETING HIS SCORING AVERAGE AND SNEAKER SALES

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I THINK THIS IS THE GAME...

THAT LEBRON GIVES WADE BACK THE MIAMI HEAT TEAM

DEFERS INTO MORE OF A MAGIC JOHNSON TYPE PLAYER,

WADE EVOLVES TO BECOME BETTER THAN MICHEAL JORDAN HIMSELF

SKYROCKETING HIS SCORING AVERAGE AND SNEAKER SALES

Nah man, it's Jorts time to take the team on his back. Dwyane is done and Lebron defers too much. Jorts has got to step it up.

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Its time for this coach to realize that small ball will not work for an entire season. For a series depending on matchups sure. But not for 82 games.

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Its time for this coach to realize that small ball will not work for an entire season. For a series depending on matchups sure. But not for 82 games.

Exactly, small ball relies on so many switches and so much effort that just can't be there every day in a long regular season. Sometimes you just need "traditional ball", lol

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I don't even get why Haslem is starting to be honest. Joel is way better defensively and at this point him and Joel are pretty similar on offense and if anything Joel is better because he knows his limits. Haslem had that jumper his whole career but it's completely abandoned him.

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Yeah, boy! Norris seems to be learning new moves! First, did the teardrop, next the D-Wade move. I wonder what's next.

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Did anyone see Bosh there? This is why I can't stand him sometimes. Dude didnt even jump for that rebound. It's like he's waiting for it to land in his lap.

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Did anyone see Bosh there? This is why I can't stand him sometimes. Dude didnt even jump for that rebound. It's like he's waiting for it to land in his lap.

soft move by bosh

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