With the game tied at 47, the Dallas Mavericks used a 26-8 run beginning at the 1:09 mark of the second quarter until the 5:13 mark of the third period to open up an 18-point advantage en route to the win against the Miami Heat on Saturday Night. The night was also dubbed "Erick Dampier Reunion Night." OK, it wasn't dubbed that, I dubbed it that but it was great timing for this to be the first game for Dampier in a Miami Heat uniform.
The Mavericks completed the daunting four games in five nights stretch with Thanksgiving in-between. The Mavericks swept through the situation, marking the third time in team history that the team went 4-0 under the circumstances. You have to go back to November 2006 and February 1985 to find when the Mavericks completed the task. "To go through and win all five like this, you have to be extremely energetic, you have to be deep, you have to have good guys and good players," said Coach Rick Carlisle as he was assessing what the Mavericks accomplished. "You have to have a high energy level and a high spirit and we sustained that this week."
The Mavericks have now won 13 straight regular season games against the Heat, including 16 out of the last 17 meetings. The last regular season meeting where the Heat were victorious was in 1999. Dallas has now won their last five games, rebounding from a troubling loss to the Chicago Bulls. "Ever since the Chicago loss, the guys showed some real resolve...to respond with five in a row is big for us," said Carlisle.
The Mavericks dominated the Heat 48-26 in the paint, led by Tyson Chandler's 14 points, including the first 7 Mavericks points. It was a monster game for the big man, marking the third game in a row where Chandler has been a dominant force in the middle for the Mavericks. "I've had a couple of good games," said Chandler. "The only thing I want to do is continue to bring energy and try to do whatever it takes,whatever my team needs on that particular night."
Caron Butler was the leading scorer for the Mavericks with 23 points. He only scored 4 points in the first half but came out on fire in the second half and scoured 19 points. The Mavericks have a new tag-team, to match the center tandem, in the form of Butler and Shawn Marion at the small forward position. Butler understands it's a different situation now, "When you’re winning, it is what it is," Butler said. "That was my role I had to play, to cheer other guys on. Like coach said and everybody bought into it, it’s all about winning. That’s all that really matters." Butler attributed tonight's performance to, "not second guessing myself."
"(Butler) is a talented player and for him this is a different situation where he can get a lot of just catch and shoot because he’s wide open," said Jason Kidd, commenting on Butler's game. "We’ve been telling him to just catch and shoot and take that first one and then go into your tricks and the game will be a lot easier for him and tonight we went to him and he delivered."
It was somewhat of a surprising scene to see Butler playing in the fourth quarter as he didn't log a minute of fourth quarter action over the past two games. Carlisle mentioned that the Mavericks have 3 options to close out games: small (the three-guard lineup) and Caron or Shawn at the small forward. The route they will take on closing the game will be dependent on what is working best during that particular game.
The loss for the Heat was apparently the breaking point as they held a players-only meeting after the game. The locker room is open 10 minutes after the ending of the game, tonight it wasn't open until around the 50 minute mark. For the Mavericks, it's remains business as usual. The news about Brendan Haywood's suspension was the talk of the early part of the day, but as Carlisle put it, "Today is a new day … We’re moving on." Don't expect a lot of information to come out, outside of what Haywood's agent mentioned to the media. Mark Cuban said it best, "You can't control what the agent do." They'll have a day off to relish their wonderful accomplishment but the games keep coming as they host the Houston Rockets on Monday night.
Quick Notes (Stat Nuggets):
- LeBron James led the Heat with 23 points. In an odd trend, they are now 2-6 when he leads the team in scoring. On the other hand, the Heat are 7-2 when Dwyane Wade leads the team in scoring.
- The Mavericks are REALLY good when Chandler records a double-double, they're now 4-0 on the season when he notches a double-double.
- The Dallas bench outscored Miami's 39-22 in the victory. The Mavericks are now 8-2 when their bench outscores the opposing bench. To further cement the fact that the bench is important to the team, the Mavericks are now 8-0 when the team has two or more 2nd unit guys scoring 10 or more points. Jason Terry, JJ Barea and Shawn Marion accounted for all 39 points.
- The Mavericks are now 3-0 on the second night of a back-to-back, their record in the same situation was 12-8 last season.
- Sharing the wealth is good, the Mavericks had 25 assists against the Heat and they are now 5-1 when they have 25 or more assists.
- Dallas won the turnover battle forcing three more turnovers, 14-11. The Mavericks are now 6-1 when having fewer turnovers than their opponent.