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3 things to watch as the Mavs host the Heat

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The Mavs most certainly do not want to get burned by this Heat.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Miami Heat Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks (23-35) will host the Miami Heat (27-32) at the American Airlines Center on Monday night. The game arrives on the back of a Saturday night win against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The last time these two teams met, the Heat took down the Mavs 99-95 after a huge game from Goran Dragic in which he posted 32 points on 73.3 percent shooting.

This will be our second time seeing Nerlens Noel in a Mavs uniform after his debut against the Pelicans, a game where he contributed nine points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes. It’s still unclear when Nerlens will be added to the starting lineup (he will likely be coming off the bench for next little while), however Noel will still be playing starter minutes. You can read more here where Doyle looks at this particular question in greater depth.

But for now, we turn our attention to what to look for in tonight’s matchup with the Heat.

A surging Miami Heat team

The Heat have gone 8-2 in their last 10 games and have won their last three in a row. At the beginning of the season, Miami looked like a team in shambles, but their last couple of months have been far from that, with Dion Waiters (yep...) at the helm averaging 20.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and almost six assists in the last 15 games.

Dion Waiters isn’t the only one turning up the heat; Hassan Whiteside in that same 15 game stretch has been lighting it up with 14.8 points, 13.7 rebounds and two blocks per game.

Wesley Matthews shutting down Dion Waiters

Wes will almost always get the tough task of guarding the opponent’s best player, and (I can’t believe I’m typing this) for the Heat that is currently Dion Waiters. It would be so sweet to see Matthews keep Waiters quiet, mainly because I’m actually scared of what he will do to the Mavs. I just cannot watch Waiters go and drop 25 on us; it would hurt my soul and my heart.

Dirk edging towards that 30k milestone

Nowitzki is a mere 67 points shy of THIRTY THOUSAND POINTS. It’s not going to happen tonight, but we are just so damn close now. With a typical scoring performance tonight of around 18 points, Dirk can put himself in a position to be within two games of reaching the illusive milestone. With a nice stretch of home games ahead, Dirk is likely going to get the 30k at home which makes it that one bit better.

After the Hawks matchup on Wednesday night in Atlanta, the Mavericks will have a five-game home stand (their longest for the season), giving Dirk a good chance to get the points on familiar soil in front of yet another sold-out Mavericks home game.

How to watch

Tonight’s game tips off at 7:30pm Central and can be seen locally on Fox Sports Southwest. Otherwise, you can catch it on NBA League Pass.