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.