HEAT Start Road Trip In Dallas

Jimmy Butler
Photo Credit: Bart Young
by Joe Beguiristain

After a resilient effort against the Lakers, the HEAT have made their way to Dallas for a matchup with the Mavs on Saturday at 8:30PM.

Before we break down Dallas, though, let’s get into Miami’s last outing against the best team in the Western Conference.

Despite some gritty performances by Jimmy Butler, Derrick Jones Jr. and Kendrick Nunn, the HEAT fell just short and dropped their first game at home. And even though the result was disappointing, Jones Jr.’s defense on LeBron James was rather encouraging.

As a whole, Miami will need that and more against a Mavericks team that owns the best offense in the league by a wide margin.

In fact, Dallas is scoring 117.1 points per 100 possessions, which is 2.4 points better than the second-place Rockets. As a result, the Mavs have won 11 of their last 13 games and enter the contest at 17-7 overall.

So why is their offense off the charts?

Look no further than Luka Dončić.

Not only does the Slovenian lead Dallas with 30.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and 9.3 assists per game on 48.2 percent shooting, but he also paces the entire league (along with Damian Lillard) with 1.12 points per possession as the pick-and-roll ball handler (minimum of 100 such actions). Oh yeah, he’s also coming off his league-leading eighth triple-double and fourth 40-point game of the season against the Pistons on Thursday.

That’s insane.

As a unit defensively, Dončić’s team is right around league average, but they’ve slightly improved during their 13-game flurry. That said, the HEAT should be able to find success on non-corner threes, as the Mavs give up 27.7 such attempts per game.

Bam Adebayo dribble-handoff action, anyone?

Time will tell.

INJURY/STATUS REPORT: Goran Dragić (Right Groin Strain), James Johnson (Personal Reasons), KZ Okpala (G League - On Assignment), Dion Waiters (Team Suspension) and Justise Winslow (Lower Back Strain) are all out for Miami.

Delon Wright (Right Adductor Strain) is probable, while Antonius Cleveland (G League - Two-Way), Josh Reaves (G League - Two-Way) and Isaiah Roby (G League - On Assignment) are out for Dallas.

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