Four-Pointer: Previewing the Miami Heat

USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks will have their hands full as LeBron James and the two-time defending NBA Champion Miami Heat roll into the AAC tonight.

What has Miami done lately?

The Heat has won five of their last six games. Oddly, their only loss came at the hands of the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. In their wins, however, Miami averaged 107.6 points per game while allowing 101.2 points.

What are the Heat's biggest strength and weakness?

Their strength is certainly their Flying Death Machine ability to score on the break and in the halfcourt. Miami shoots 50.8 percent and moves the ball extremely well, with 60.1 percent of their shots being assisted.

The majority of their shots come in the restricted area but the Heat spaces the floor well to create good shots. They do this with their stretch forwards, and especially Chris Bosh, their center. Bosh's ability to stretch the floor with his 3-point shooting opens up lanes for slashers and cutters. Defenses will collapse to protect the rim which will leave open shots for Bosh, or any of the other Heat players, open around the perimeter.

Since Miami's offensive attack is based on speed, spacing, and ball movement, they do not play with a traditional line up. Instead, they often use a two or three guard lineup without a center on the floor. This poses a problem on the glass. The Heat are the worst rebounding team in the league. However, it doesn't seem to matter. Miami's active defense forces opponents into turnovers on 16.2 percent of their possessions. That is the best mark in the league and makes up for their lack of effort on the boards.

Which Miami player might be due for a big game?

Dwyane Wade seems to always play well in Dallas. It's pretty damn annoying. He is listed as probable for tonight's game at the time of this writing. So it isn't certain that he will play. Plus, I just don't really like him so I can't say he will have a big game.

Who with have a big game against the Mavs? LeBron James because duh.

What do the Mavs need to do to be successful against the Heat?

Whatever it was they did against the Pacers, the Mavs need to replicate against the Heat. Unfortunately, the Heat are a much higher scoring offense. They are going to put the Mavericks' defense back on its heels. Dallas needs to find a way to play consistent defense (queue broken record). Beyond that, the Mavs must limit their turnovers. Miami will get out in transition for easy buckets early and often if the Mavs are turning it over. However, if Dallas protects the ball and cleans the glass they can limit Miami's opportunities. Also, it wouldn't hurt if Lady Luck was on the Mavs' side.

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