Mavericks Beat Heat for Seventh Straight Win
Dallas 103, Miami 90
MIAMI, Nov. 25 (Ticker) -- The threesome of Dirk Nowitzki, Josh Howard and Marquis Daniels made the Dallas Mavericks too much for the three-less Miami Heat.
Nowitzki scored 23 points and made a pair of clutch 3-pointers down the stretch as the Mavericks extended their winning streak to seven games with a 103-90 victory over the Heat, who came up empty from the arc.
"They kept on coming," Nowitzki said. "We knew they were going to still attack. Whatever they threw at us late, we stood our ground and played tough."
An All-NBA selection last season, Nowitzki was overshadowed for most of the game by Howard and Daniels, a pair of third-year wing players. But the 7-foot German drilled a pair of long 3-pointers just over a minute apart to answer hoops by the Heat and give the Mavericks a 94-82 lead with 3:25 to go.
"Obviously, the first one I made kind of helped the second I made," he said. "You get the confidence that the ball goes in. Luckily, the ball went in."
Nowitzki made 4-of-5 shots from the arc, where Dallas was 8-of-15. By contrast, Miami was 0-of-11 from 3-point range, with Antoine Walker missing badly on all four of his attempts.
"We shot the ball very poorly, especially from three," Miami coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We didn't even make one."
Overall, Walker made 1-of-13 shots. He was part of a woeful bench effort by the Heat, who got six points on 3-of-20 shooting from their reserves, while the Mavericks received sparks from backups Keith Van Horn and Devin Harris.
"We thought if we could keep their bench under control, we would be OK," Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. "Nobody expected Walker to shoot like he did, or whatever. We were just really fortunate that they missed some shots."
Miami closed to 76-74 with 9:14 to play on a tough runner by Jason Williams, who scored 10 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter. Daniels answered with a lane jumper and Howard sank a 3-pointer, a foul-line jumper and a fast-break layup to rebuild the lead to 85-74 with 6:32 to play.
"They made a run," Johnson said. "They're a very good basketball team. The second half, they got it within two, and we just suggested, 'Stay tough-minded.' And we were able to get somewhat of a cushion."
"Josh Howard was great," Van Gundy said. "He was huge for them."
Wade scored 23 points, but had just two free throws and missed all four of his shots in the final period. He was not a factor down the stretch as Miami's six-game home winning streak - all without injured superstar center Shaquille O'Neal - came to an end.
"It is difficult when you know you had an opportunity to win, Heat center Alonzo Mourning said. "I don't think we made the right decisions down the stretch to pull the win out."
"On the offensive end, I just didn't do a good job finding stuff for us to run," Van Gundy said. "I'm upset with myself for not finding an answer for us offensively."
Erick Dampier scored a season-high 17 points and Jason Terry added 10 and 10 assists for Dallas, which shot 50 percent (37-of-74) as it maintained its mastery of Miami. It swept the season series last season and has won nine of the last 11 meetings.
"Erick Dampier had a great night," Van Gundy said. "The guy is averaging five points a game, and comes in and scores 17."
Udonis Haslem scored 14 points and Mourning added 13 and six blocks for Miami, which shot 44 percent (35-of-80).
Nowitzki had a jumper and 3-pointer in a 13-2 surge that gave Dallas a 23-14 lead late in the first quarter. Van Horn also had a jumper and 3-pointer in a 15-5 run that opened the second period and pushed the advantage to 42-27.
Trailing 57-45 at halftime, Miami picked up its defense and closed to 63-62 on a follow dunk by Mourning that capped a 10-0 burst. But a 3-pointer by Van Horn and consecutive drives by Harris rebuilt the lead to 74-65.
"I think we kind of had a letdown in the third quarter," Dampier said. "We turned the ball over a couple of times, missed a couple of baskets here and there. But teams are gonna make runs, and I think we responded with a run."