Rapid Reaction: Heat 106, Mavericks 85

March, 29, 2012
3/29/12
9:30
PM CT
MIAMI -- How it happened: Jason Terry wore his gold shoes from last summer’s championship series, a reminder to everyone in South Beach just how well he played during the Dallas Mavericks' championship run.

Well, you know what they say about karma.

Terry made just one of 10 shots and was a non-factor offensively. He had as many fouls (3) as points (3). And then there’s Dirk Nowitzki, who missed his last eight shots.

Dallas can’t win on nights when its two best offensive players struggle to shoot.

Miami, leading by seven at halftime, never relinquished the lead as it methodically pulled away from the Mavs at American Airlines Arena on Thursday night.

The Mavs are 4-4 when Terry scores fewer than 10 points, but have lost three of the last four times it has happened. The Mavs don’t have an offensively-gifted team.

Nowitzki is the Mavs' only pure scorer, but they mask their deficiencies with excellent ball movement and quality defense. The ball movement leads to open shots, and the defense allows the Mavs to get into their offensive flow before the defense can set up.

The Mavs didn’t shoot well enough in the second half to put pressure on Miami’s defense, and they didn’t consistently defend well enough to get their secondary fastbreak offense up and running.

All is not lost, though.

Lamar Odom played his second consecutive quality game. More important, he played like he cared.

He dove to the floor for a loose ball in the first half, one of the few times we’ve seen that this season. And in the third quarter, he single-handidly kept the Mavs in the game with nine consecutive points to end the quarter.

Along the way, he showed why owner Mark Cuban and coach Rick Carlisle have been patient with him: when he’s engaged in the game, he can do a lot of things to help the Mavs.

For the second straight game, Odom attacked the basket aggressively and made good passes after penetrating, setting up his teammates for open looks.(

It wasn’t good enough to help the Mavs win, but it eased some of the sting of yet another road loss.

What it means: The Mavs are just two games ahead of ninth-place Denver in the loss column, and now they have to go faced the rested Orlando Magic for a back-to-back. This is what happens when you lose games to inferior opponents such as New Orleans, New Jersey and Phoenix. The Mavs didn’t play poorly and still lost to Miami, which can happen against good teams.

Bold play: Odom stood in the left corner and waited for Nowitzki’s pass to find him. Then, he launched a 3-pointer that hit nothing but net. It was his ninth consecutive point and pulled the Mavs within eight points at the end of the third quarter. Dirk, thrilled with the play, gave Odom some strong words of support as they headed down the court.

Stat of the night: For the first time since March 2009, the Mavs didn’t shoot a free thrown in the first half. It should come as no surprise, though, because the Mavs launched 17 3-pointers in the first half, making seven. You don’t get to the free throw line hanging around the perimeter.
Jean-Jacques Taylor joined ESPNDallas.com in August 2011. A native of Dallas, Taylor spent the past 20 years writing for The Dallas Morning News, where he covered high schools sports, the Texas Rangers and spent 11 seasons covering the Dallas Cowboys before becoming a general columnist in 2006.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsS. Marion 6.5
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9