Mavericks Welcome Champs To Start Second Half


Nov 15, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) is pressured by Miami Heat power forward Rashard Lewis (9) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat AT Dallas Mavericks at 8:30 p.m. ET on FSSW

Both the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat will play their first game after the All-Star break. The game will start at 8:30 p.m. ET  on Feb. 18 and can be seen on Fox Sports Southwest with Mark Followill and Derek Harper at American Airlines Center.

The Mavericks are once again led by Dirk Nowitzki, who is averaging 21.7 points a game. Dallas sits in the 6th spot in the West at 32-22. The Mavs are nine wins away from tying last season’s total when they went 41-41. Dallas is a half game ahead of the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors, and 3.5 games back of the 3rd-seeded Houston Rockets. Nowitzki is averaging 24.5 points in his last 10 games, and 20.4 this month.

The two-time defending champion Miami Heat sits in the 2nd spot in the East, 2.5 games back of the Indiana Pacers, and a whopping 9.5 games ahead of 3rd-seeded Toronto Raptors. LeBron James ranks third in the league at 26.5 points a game. He’s scored 27.9 in his last 10 and 28.5 in six games this month.

All Stars: Four all stars will play in this game (Dirk, Wade, Bosh, LeBron).

LeBron James: 22 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, three steals, 11-of-22 shooting, 0-of-7 3-pointers, 33 minutes

Dwayne Wade: 10 points, three assists, two steals, 5-of-6 shooting, 12 minutes

Chris Bosh: Five points, two rebounds, two steals, 2-of-3 shooting, 10 minutes

Dirk Nowitzki: 0-of-2 shooting, one rebound, eight minutes

Remember That One Time: When Mavs fans think of Dallas versus Miami, they think of a couple of title match ups. The Mavs and Heat have faced off in two NBA Finals, both winning six and losing six. Dallas was up 2-0 and 13 points midway through the fourth quarter in Game 3 of the 2006 Finals before the Heat came back to win that game, and the final three to their first title in franchise history. It put a bad taste in our mouths, as it was just the start of a brutal four years, which I won’t go into detail. After those years, however, the two would meet in the 2011 Finals. Miami went up 2-1 before the Mavs won the final three to win THEIR first title in franchise history. It was more satisfying because Dallas was able to stop the Big 3 (James, Wade, Bosh), and of course, Dirk was named Finals MVP.

X-Factors: The Matrix will be the Dallas’ x-factor because he’ll have the luxury of guarding one Mr. LeBron James. In their only meeting this season, James went for 39 points on 14-of-18 shooting. Marion will HAVE to do a much better job if the Mavs want to win this one, and not just Marion, but anyone who comes in to guard LeBron.

Last Meeting: On Nov. 15 in South Beach, the Heat defeated the Mavs 110-104 behind James’ 39 points. Dwayne Wade added 17 points, five rebounds, eight assists and a career-high eight steals. Dallas won every quarter except for the second, when it was outscored 29-19, which proved to be the difference. Nowitzki led the Mavs with 28 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 9-of-10 from the line and 3-of-5 from downtown. Ellis added 20 points, and Carter scored 21 off the bench. Dallas shot 50 percent as a team, but allowed the Heat to shoot 54 percent.