Preview: Mavs seek revenge against Heat for lopsided loss
Earl K. Sneed reports from Miami and previews the Dallas Mavericks' Wednesday night matchup against LeBron James and the Heat, as the Mavs try to get even for a December loss on their home floor.
Preview: Mavericks (13-19) at Heat (21-8)
Mavs seek revenge against Heat for lopsided loss
Facing a 14-point deficit in the first half at league-worst Washington and trying to avoid the franchise’s first seven-game losing streak since Feb. 9-19, 1999, the Mavericks (13-19) staged a furious rally before capturing a much-needed 103-94 victory. Now, the Mavs will try to take that lesson and apply it one night later, looking to avenge a 110-95 home defeat at the hands of the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat on Dec. 20.
“These are feel-good moments that we have to take advantage of and something now that we can build off of and we can say, ‘Look, we can do it.’ I don’t care who the team is, I don’t care what the record is, this is how we have to play. Sometimes we’re going to play this way, play this well and lose games, but it’s the mentality and consistency that we have to get better at,” eight-time All-Star Vince Carter emphatically said after posting a team-best 23 points in the win.
He added: “It’s a great feeling to get a W for confidence and for a lot of reasons, so I’m just glad that guys were about to stick it out, fight through and figure out a way. We know [Washington] is a scrappy team. The record doesn’t matter in our opinion, because they’ve been in games and we haven’t been in games. So for us, we needed to come and play, and we needed to come to play for 48 minutes, not a half or three quarters.”
On the second night of a back-to-back, the Mavericks will again try to put together four quarters on the road after claiming their first win away from home since Dec. 8 in a 116-109 victory at Houston. Meanwhile, the Mavs will try to replicate their balanced play, after Carter led six players in double figures, including 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki’s 11 points in his fifth appearance off the bench since returning from preseason arthroscopic knee surgery.
“I don’t remember losing six games in a row ever in my career,” Nowitzki said. “It probably happened before but I don’t remember, so it’s been so long. The locker room is miserable. The coaches are miserable when you lose, so it was definitely one we wanted to get.
“It’s been frustrating. Losing is not something we’ve been used to in this franchise, in this organization. The fans are used to a lot more. I feel like we’ve just got to compete on a high level. … I don’t think we’re as talented as the top four or top five in the West, but I feel if we can compete and play together on both ends of the floor then we can definitely be a factor.”
It will likely take another complete game at both ends of the floor to slow down three-time MVP LeBron James and the high-octane Heat (21-8), as Miami seeks a fourth straight win over the Mavs in regular-season play. And with James hoping to also extend his 29-game streak to start the season of at least 20 points, the second-longest stretch of its kind since the NBA-ABA merger, the Dallas defense will have to be on high alert as the two franchises renew their championship rivalry.
“You know, everybody knows the story between Miami and Dallas. They go way back with championships. But as a player, you have to take that first game personal. If you don’t, then you shouldn’t play (Wednesday night),” point guard Darren Collison said with the bitter memory of that December loss still lingering in his mouth.
Note: The Mavericks will now return to action Wednesday on the second night of a back-to-back in Miami, looking to avenge a 110-95 home loss on Dec. 20 to the defending champion Heat. The game will air locally at 6:30 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest.