Well, the game between the last two NBA champions felt like a replay of the Christmas Day matchup to start the 2011-12 season as the Miami Heat defeated the Dallas Mavericks in convincing fashion by a score of 110-95. Jae Crowder tied a season-high with 15 points off the bench against Miami on Thursday, also had 15 at the L.A. Lakers on 11/24. It was his sixth double-figure scoring game of the season. He added three rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes. Bernard James went 6-of-10 from the field en route to a season-high 12 points against the Heat (previous high: 9 at Indiana 11/16). He added a season-high-tying nine boards and three blocks in 22 minutes, finishing one rebound shy of his first career double-double. He did not play, coach’s decision, in three of the Mavericks’ previous four games.
O.J. Mayo was held in check by Miami’s stiff defense as he was held to only eight points on 3-of-14 shooting (0-of-5 from 3-point range). LeBron James set the tone early in the game as he scored 13 of his 24 points in the opening quarter. In addition to the 24 points, he added nine rebounds and five assists in 31 minutes.
Prior to the game, a taped interview of Dirk Nowitzki was shown to the crowd. He said that they’ll continue to keep pushing the rehabilitation process and while he doesn’t want to put a specific target date on the record, he is hopeful to make his return to the court before New Year’s Day.
Here is the quoteboard for the loss to the Miami Heat.
What worked for Miami: “They were playing us tough all night…they were making tough shots when we weren’t, then we had more poor breakdowns as the game went on. It was very disappointing on how we played, but we’ll have to forget it quickly because we have another tough one tomorrow.”
What the Heat were able to do against O.J. Mayo: “They were trapping him and in those situations, he has to take advantage of being trapped…He has to move the ball quickly, there were a couple of times he did it and there were a couple of times he didn’t when they threatened the ball and created bad situations for us. We are playing a random game right now because of our personnel situation. It’s how we’re set up, we aren’t running a lot of plays designed for O.J.”
The end result: “We obviously need to do a better job than what we did tonight.”
The positive play of Bernard James: “He has been a positive guy for us all year. He really has. He brings a lot of energy, he brings force, he brings rim protection. He goes and gets the ball and he is a little better than a lot of people think, especially around the basket and finishing too. There is a good chance we are going to need him again tomorrow like this. This was a good night for him.”
The shooting: “We missed a lot of layups and shots that we normally make. It was just one of those nights.
Suffering a bad loss on national TV: “National TV or not, a loss is a loss. To take a loss like that, whether it’s on TV or not, it still hurts. We’re not worried about the cameras or what station it’s on. We’re just coming out and playing. Tonight we laid an egg but we’ll get back on it.”
On his shooting: “I was just missing shots. It wasn’t a good one. You wish you can play well every game, but sometimes you just have a bad one.”
On a frustrating loss where things just didn’t go well: “I don’t think you can find one team in the league that plays well all 82 games. That’s how it goes sometimes. We can’t pout and point fingers. We’ve just got to look in the mirror…We can play better and we will play better.”
On if he’s putting a stronger emphasis on the game against Memphis: “Not at all. It’s another game on the schedule…I think the guys understand how bad I want the game, how much I want to play well and the team to play well.”
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.