Tonight is the rematch of last year’s NBA Finals matchup as the Dallas Mavericks (29-22) invade Miami to face the Heat (35-13). However, these aren’t the Mavs of last season.
Dallas hasn’t looked like defending NBA champs and have had an up-and-down season. Gone is Tyson Chandler, and JJ Barea (two key cogs in the Mavs title march) which has seem to take its toll on Dallas. Add the fact their biggest acquisition this season, Lamar Odom, has been having a difficult time adjusting to a new city while dealing with personal issues, and you got a Dallas team that seemingly will not be defending their crown.
On the other hand, Miami is looking like every bit of an NBA champ in waiting for most of the season despite dropping two games in a row recently. If Miami want to rid themselves of the bad taste of losing, a win versus the Mavs might just cure what ails them. Also, LeBron James has been dealing with a left dislocated ring finger. He dislocated it against Indiana on Monday but played the rest of the game. He should be in uniform tonight.
Here are five things to watch for in tonight’s Mavs-Heat tussle.
- Dallas should strike while Miami is down. The Heat have been held under 100 points in 11 of their last 13 games.
- Be careful Dallas, the Heat are pretty good at home. Miami is currently riding a 14-game home winning streak.
- If Dallas brings the “D” and hold the Heat on the offensive end, Miami might be in trouble. Miami is 3-5 when scoring between 80-89 points in a game.
- If Miami is leading after three quarters, more than likely Dallas is going to lose. The Heat are 30-4 when leading after the third period.
- It would be good for the Heat to keep the Mavs off the glass. Overall this season, Dallas is 20-5 when they out-rebound their opponent.
Team comparison. Here is how Dallas and Miami fared against one another this season (via nba.com).