The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 98, Miami Heat 96

Posted by Rob Mahoney on December 21, 2010 under Recaps | 5 Comments to Read

Screen shot 2010-12-21 at 9.44.22 AM

Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot ChartGameFlow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FT/FGORB%TOR

You know the drill. The Difference is a quick-hitting (or in this case, day after) reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • I will say this about Dallas: they seem totally unaffected by win streaks. The Mavs aren’t daunted by opponents on a roll, nor did they look truly empowered when they were riding a double-digit streak of their own. This team just plays, and the quiet dignity of their execution feels ostensibly different from prior seasons. Dallas has long gone about their business through the regular season, but this is something else. It’s not necessarily measurable, just an observation, and likely one tainted by the Mavs’ recent success. Still, I feel there’s some merit to it, if not in every game than certainly in this one. Miami’s 12-game streak is dead, and your Dallas Mavericks were the ones who buried it. Alive. And watched the soil squirm and struggle while cackling. What can I say? Jason Terry is an evil, evil man.
  • Dallas got the necessary stops, to close the game, but this was a nice combined offensive and defensive effort. Dallas wasn’t playing up to their potential on either end, but neither was Miami. Good teams tend to take each other out of their rhythm a bit, and it seemed like both squads managed to disrupt the opposing club’s rhythm just enough to prevent either team from really taking off. The Mavs went on an early run thanks to some hot shooting, the Heat countered with a sudden burst of scoring, and the two clubs jockeyed for position through the rest of the game. Dirk Nowitzki (26 points, 8-21 FG, nine rebounds) carried the load early, but his shots started coming up short about midway through the third quarter. Shawn Marion (seven points, 13 rebounds) demonstrated how a player can impact a game with essentially defense and rebounding alone. JET dropped 19 points in the fourth quarter alone, which makes for pretty good times. I could go on all day. Caron Butler quietly put up 13 points on nine shots while playing excellent defense on LeBron James for stretches. Tyson Chandler could have been better, but altered shots and finished well. Credit for this win runs deep through the roster, and while it may not be the most significant win of the season, it’s a nice badge to have.
  • Kirk Henderson

    When Butler decides to get within 10 feet of the basket its like watching an old guy at the YMCA – you dont know how he gets there or gets the shot off, but it counts and thats all that matters.

  • jtshoopsblog

    So glad the Mavs beat the Heat. Dallas showed that the Heat only looked invincible, but never actually was.

  • Bgalella

    Jason Terry was unbelievable, one of the best fourth quarter performances of the year for sure.

  • Hurtelknut

    I'm really glad that Butler finally came to grip with reality and actually passes the ball more often than not now when he gets in on the wing. He still takes odd Js here and there, but I guess I can live with that.

  • WilliamHead

    I think yr assessment of the quiet professionalism this team exemplifies night in and night out is very astute, and it is resonating throughout the league. Player comments are very telling. Wade or James (can't remember which) referred to the Mavs as an elite team, which, though not any more true today than it has been for quite some time, is a marked contrast from the perception of this team as recently as a month and a half ago.
    Coming into the season, most critics had Dallas as a 4 or 5 seed in the West, an also ran whose window had closed. This may or may not pan out to be the case, but the attitude towards this team now has been upgraded to a level of respect that I honestly can't remember. The main reason is the statistical defensive numbers, and the obvious catalyst is Chandler, but overlooked is the presence D.Stephenson brings to the 2 to begin the game.
    All of a sudden, the ability to plug veteran after veteran into every position is less of a detriment (as in “old”) and instead a measured advantage, as it means that collectively (at least in theory) you always have a group of guys on the floor who individually understand what is supposed to happen and what it takes to win those team battles (cliche as that might sound).