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Mavericks Embrace the Challenges That the Road Presents

After their longest home-stand of the season, the Dallas Mavericks will take a quick trip to the Sunshine State to take on the Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic.  The season has been front-loaded with home games for the Mavericks but they have the league's second best road record at 9-1.  The Mavericks had the best road record in the league last season at 27-14 and they appear to be on pace for another banner year in that department.  "We're an experienced team," said Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle.  "We've been in a lot of battles in other buildings so our guys know what it's about.  We don't take anything for granted.  We know that going into other people's buildings is always going to be a challenge."

Mavericks Guard Jason Terry echoed the coach's sentiments and Terry believes the Mavericks have a road warriors mentality.  "For us, our core group is pretty much all veterans," said Terry.  "We take pride in going into other people's gym and kicking their butt.  I think that's the thing about us, it doesn't matter where we're at, we're going to rise to the challenge and we feel like every time we step on the road it's a new challenge."  

The Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat on November 27th and since then, the Heat have not lost a game and are currently on a 12-game winning streak.  On Monday night, Dallas will have their chance to bookend the Miami win streak as they take their talents to South Beach.  The Heat have been on a tear and they look like the team everyone imagined they would be.  "Over the last three weeks, not only have they been unbeatable, they've almost been untouchable," said Carlisle.  "They're winning by ridiculous, unprecedented margins on a consistent basis.  It's a terrific challenge."

The Miami Heat are rolling and playing a game that is faster and caters to their three superstars - Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.  "It was only a matter of time before they figured things out and they certainly have done that in the period since we played them," said Carlisle.  "Not only are they a great team, they're doing unprecedented things statistically.  They're number one in almost every offensive and defensive stat and their point differential is over ten during that period of time.  The adjustments that they have made have been fruitful."  They're playing aggressive basketball on both sides of the court and the Mavericks will have to counter that aggressive nature with their own kind of aggression. 

The Mavericks with the longest tenure are Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry and they have two different opinions when it comes to seeing a Miami Heat jersey and whether or not it stirs up any painful memories of their Finals defeat in 2006.  "We’re going into their territory. You know what it means to us. It’s always going to be there," Terry said. "It doesn’t matter who’s in those uniforms. That game is personal.  Until we win (a championship), that feeling is still going to be there," said Terry.  "It's going to be emotional and I'm looking forward to it."  For Dirk, the time between now and 2006 has somewhat helped heal the wounds.  "It's so long ago now, if I would think about certain teams (that way), I would hold grudges against 29 teams because at some point we lost to every team in this league," said Nowitzki.  "But yeah, that Miami series will always be with me for the rest of my career, probably the rest of my life.  But the rosters are completely different, so I don't think it has much to do with (2006) anymore."

The Mavericks will look for an early Christmas present and they know they're in for a battle but it's one they're anticipating greatly.  When asked about going out on the Florida road trip, Nowitzki confirmed the team's overall confidence about going on the road.  "We don't fear going on the road, we like being on the road," said Nowitzki.  "It should be a great test for us and we're ready to play."