Rapid Reaction: Heat 105, Mavs 94

December, 25, 2011
12/25/11
4:22
PM CT
How it happened: The Finals rematch was competitive for about six minutes. The Heat dominated every facet from the midway point of the first quarter until the fourth quarter, when a Mavs run was too little, too late.

The Mavs had more turnovers than rebounds and trailed by 15 after the first quarter, a pretty good recipe for being blown out. They failed to find an offensive rhythm until the fourth quarter and were even worse on the defensive end. Dallas shot 35.5 percent from the floor and allowed the Heat to hit at a 57.1 percent clip through three quarters, resulting in Miami taking a 32-point lead into the final frame.

Heat superstars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who heard harsh criticism throughout the long lockout after the Mavs’ Finals victory over the megahyped Heat, started the season with spectacular performances. James had 37 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Wade had 26 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

The Mavs, who never had a lead, were overwhelmed by the Heat’s speed and athleticism. Miami had a 31-10 advantage in fast-break points. Points in the paint (44-28) weren’t much prettier for the Mavs.

What it means: The Mavs followed the raising of the championship banner with a bummer of a performance. This is probably the beginning of a bumpy road to start the season for a championship team trying to fit in some significant new pieces on the fly. Perhaps the biggest positive from a Mavs standpoint is that Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and the rest of the heavy lifters didn’t play a lot of minutes. They face the Denver Nuggets a little more than 24 hours after the final buzzer.

Play of the game: There were plenty of phenomenal fast-break finishes by the Heat to pick from, but only one was of the "have you ever seen that before?" variety. Call it a double alley-oop from Mario Chalmers to James to Wade. Chalmers stole the ball from Nowitzki on the baseline and pushed it up the floor before launching a lob to James in traffic. James would have had a hard time catching and finishing over Shawn Marion, so he tapped the ball back to the trailing Wade, who caught it in mid-air and slammed it home with two hands.

Stat of the day: The Mavs’ garbage-time prowess allowed them to avoid the most lopsided loss in a home opener in franchise history. The 90-70 loss to the Utah Jazz on Feb. 2, 1999 – after the last lockout – still stands.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsD. Nowitzki 6.2
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9