Sunday, December 25, 2011
Heat get revenge, run to victory over Mavs
By ESPN Stats & Information
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
The Miami Heat left no doubt that they intend to bring a championship trophy to South Beach this season, dominating the Dallas Mavericks in a rematch from last year’s NBA Finals from start to finish with a convincing 105-94 victory at the American Airlines Center.
LeBron James finishes at the rim in the Heat's 105-94 win over Dallas.
Dallas outscored the Heat 28-9 in the final quarter to keep themselves from suffering one of the worst losses in a season opener by a defending NBA champion. The Elias Sports Bureau reports that the record is 42 points by the Heat in first game of the 2006-07 season.
Miami showcased its new up-tempo offense, outscoring the Mavericks 31-10 on the break. Last season the Heat averaged only 14.2 fastbreak points per game and reached the 31-point mark just once, when they had 34 fastbreak points in a 93-89 loss to the Chicago Bulls in February.
The Heat had 101 possessions in the game, well above their 2010-11 season average of 93.2, which ranked 21st in the league. The Heat's 101 possessions tied for their third-most in a regulation game over the last two seasons.
The Heat’s swarming defense led to transition opportunities on the other end. Miami forced 17 turnovers, including nine of the live-ball variety. The Heat scored 12 points in transition off of those live-ball turnovers and 17 points off of 11 missed shots, two of which were blocked.
The Heat’s transition game also led to a flurry of easy baskets inside as Miami made 22-of-37 field goals in the paint, outscoring Dallas 44-28 down low. Because the Heat were able to get to the rim with so much success, they attempted only seven shots from beyond the arc, their fewest in a game since October 30, 2009 at the Indiana Pacers.
Miami struggled to hit outside shots against Dallas, making just 9-of-32 jump shots (28 percent) and averaging just 0.66 points per play on those field goals. Last season the Heat scored 0.96 points per play on jumpers, seventh-best in the NBA, while shooting over 40 percent from the floor.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade reminded the rest of the league why they might be the NBA’s best duo, combining for 63 of the Heat’s 105 points. James set a franchise record for most points in a season opener with 37; Wade added 26 points, which matches his personal best in the team’s first game.
No other Heat player scored in double figures as Chris Bosh was held to just four points, his fewest in a game that he played at least 20 minutes since December 19, 2004 when he was with the Toronto Raptors. Bosh missed all five of his jumpers more than five feet from the basket.
With the win, the Heat snapped a 14-game regular season losing streak to the Mavericks. That was the franchise’s longest active losing streak versus a single opponent and the third-longest all-time, according to Elias.