What have the Heat done lately?
The Heat have had a frustrating season. After a strong start despite losing LeBron James, Miami has had to contend with a host of injuries, ranging from the sort of nagging injuries that cost veterans a few games here and there to season-ending surgery. Chris Bosh has missed eight games and Dwyane Wade has had to sit for 10, including tonight's game against Dallas, which he'll miss with a hamstring strain. One of their major offseason acquisitions, power forward Josh McRoberts, has been out for almost the entire season after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus. No one other than Mario Chalmers has managed to play every game this season.
Given the sort of season they've had, it's no wonder that the Heat, who lost on Tuesday to Milwaukee after an impressive win in Chicago, are just barely in the playoff picture. They're currently at seventh in the Eastern Conference, more than 17 games behind the Atlanta Hawks and just a game and a half ahead of the surging but also injured Charlotte Hornets.
What do the Mavericks need to do to be successful against Miami?
If the Mavs are looking to shake a four-game losing streak, Miami is a pretty good place to be. The Heat beat the Mavericks in Dallas back in November and have managed to maintain a winning road record this season despite being under .500 overall thanks to their struggles at home. The Heat have won just eight of their 22 home games this season.
What are the match-ups to watch?
One of the few bright spots for the Heat this season has been the breakout performance of center Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside was originally drafted by the Kings in 2010 and has bounced around the D-League and a few foreign leagues ever since. But the Heat signed him in late November when it was clear McRoberts would be missing the season (that story is pretty great), and he's been taking full advantage of the opportunity, including notching a no-assist triple-double against the Bulls on Sunday. Seeing him go up against Tyson Chandler should be pretty excellent basketball.
That triple-double sounds pretty impressive. Is there any awesome video evidence?
Why yes, yes there is. Here he is getting five of his 12 blocks against Chicago in just seven minutes:
Let's hope the blocks don't come quite so easy tonight.
The Heat will be missing Dwyane Wade, but the Mavericks should have everyone in uniform. The game tips off in Miami at 7:00pm Central on ESPN.