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News » Mavericks-Heat Preview 2009-01-31

Mavericks-Heat Preview 2009-01-31

Mavericks-Heat Preview 2009-01-31
When the Dallas Mavericks hired Rick Carlisle last May, he promised to keep the same passion for defense that former coach Avery Johnson had preached. Under Carlisle, the Mavericks have showed glimpses of that tough-nosed approach, but they're still looking for some defensive consistency.

Dallas opens its two-game swing through the Sunshine State on Saturday night as it goes for its ninth straight regular-season victory over a Miami team that just had its three-game winning streak snapped.

Dallas (26-19), which has alternated wins and losses in its last five games, is coming off one of its best defensive performances of the season in Wednesday's 117-93 victory over Golden State. After allowing a season-high 16 three-pointers and 53.8 percent shooting in a 124-100 loss at Boston on Sunday, the Mavericks held the league's second-highest scoring team to just 38.6 percent from the floor.

"When we do that on defense, our offense is always good," Carlisle said. "Stops are always going to lead to good things for us."

Dallas' field goal defense (44.9 percent) is nearly identical to last season's (44.3), but the Mavericks are allowing 3.3 more points per game in 2008-09.

"We've got to be consistent and we're fighting to do that," Jason Kidd said. "We've had some no-shows. If we want to make the playoffs, we have to play every night."

Jason Terry hit 3 of 4 from 3-point range and scored 22 points against the Warriors to lead six Mavericks in double figures. Terry is averaging 18.7 points and 4.2 assists as Dallas has won four of six.

Dirk Nowitzki added 18 of his 20 points in the first two quarters Wednesday as the Mavericks scored their most points (69) in a half this season. In Dallas' last visit to Miami, Nowitzki made 7 of 11 shots and scored a team-high 21 points in a 98-73 win on March 16.

Heat star Dwyane Wade missed that contest while rehabbing his left knee. On Saturday, Wade will face Dallas for just the second time since he averaged 34.7 points and 7.8 rebounds in the 2006 NBA Finals against the Mavericks.

Wade, averaging a league-best 28.4 points this season, had 24 on Friday as Miami (25-20) lost 114-103 to Indiana. It was the first time in nine games that the Heat had allowed 100 or more points.

"We knew how hard this game was going to be," Wade said. "They play very well at home. They play well, period. We were aware of it, but we didn't act like we were aware of how good they were."

Shawn Marion missed his fourth straight game Friday due to a left groin strain, but he could return for this contest.

Miami was outrebounded 47-39 by Indiana, marking the eighth time in the last 10 games the Heat have lost the rebounding battle. Dallas, meanwhile, ranks second in the NBA at 43.6 boards per game.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: January 31, 2009


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