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Mavericks vs. Heat recap: 3 thoughts from a Dallas loss to Miami, 129-122

The Mavericks shot well, but so did the Heat, leading to a dispiriting loss.

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Miami Heat Saturday night, falling 129-122 in Miami. The loss drops the Mavericks to 37-41, and keeps them in 11th place in the Western Conference. Dallas falls a full game behind the Thunder for the final spot in the play-in tournament.

Dallas got out to a hot start with their 3-point shooting, scoring 20 points in the first four minutes of the first quarter. They then proceeded to score only 11 points for the remainder of the period while allowing Miami to put up 44 points, a season-high for one quarter. The Heat continued to pile on in the second quarter, except for a short run by the Mavericks when Miami inexplicably went into a zone.

The Mavericks went on to complete one of the weirdest games they’ve played in a while. It’s really hard to shoot 61 percent from the floor and 41 percent from behind the arc and lose. Yet that’s what they did. The Heat didn’t have a layup line to the basket like the Mavericks’ opponents usually do, but they were able to penetrate and draw fouls. Miami shot 29 free throws, compared to the Mavericks’ 16. The Heat also shot well, going 52 percent from the floor, though they only shot 35 percent on 3-pointers.

Luka Doncic led all scorers with 42 points, as well as 10 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving scored 23, and Tim Hardaway Jr. exploded for 31 points on 6-of-10 shooting on threes. Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 35 points and dished out 12 assists. Kevin Love scored 18 off the bench.

Here are three thoughts from the game:

The Mavericks are creeping toward disaster

Dallas isn’t dead yet, but with this loss, we can start writing the obituary. They’ve played hard lately, putting up a good fight in the loss to the Sixers and again tonight against the Heat. But they just have nothing on defense, even when they’re giving high effort.

If it wasn’t for the teams ahead of the Mavericks playing so unevenly, we’d likely know for sure that Dallas would be home for the postseason. As it is, the Mavericks still have a chance, due to the ease of their remaining schedule and the Thunder’s tough road ahead. But as we’ve seen so many times this year, an easy schedule doesn’t mean wins for these Mavericks.

Tim Game gone to waste

We got ourselves a Tim Game, one of those beautiful scoring explosions from Hardaway that usually leads to a Mavericks win. Not tonight. It’s incredibly odd to have a role player go off for 31 points and a team not come away with the victory. But the Mavericks are losing in weird and unique ways this year. Anyway, the Heat should probably trade for Hardaway, because it seems like he always cooks in South Beach.

The Mavericks were sloppy and passive

Dallas had 15 turnovers compared to Miami’s eight. I mentioned the free throw disparity above. The Mavericks usually take care of the ball and limit opponents’ points off of turnovers. And Doncic is a walking free throw machine. But instead they settled for jump shots and fouled too often tonight. It’s not surprising from a team in its death throes.

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