The Miami Heat have enjoyed a real friendly schedule as far as balance between home and away games so far this season.
On Thursday night they were on the road against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center, they didn’t play like it though as the game turned into a rout thanks in part to their defense.
The Heat went into the game at full strength compared to the Mavericks who were missing franchise player Dirk Nowitzki and Derek Fisher due to injury. Miami also went into the game facing the NBA leader in three point shot percentage in O.J. Mayo. The three point shot has been a problem for the Heat defense so far in the season and has been key in their six defeats.
That wasn’t a problem this time around.
Miami was able to keep Mayo well under control on defense while LeBron James and Dwyane Wade went to work early on offense. The Heat’s defense, which was a point of concern, showed up in this game allowing the team to get into a flow they would not lose. Miami played like they were right at home and didn’t show any signs that this game was only their second road showing in December.
Dallas did make some stands as Miami’s lead grew. A second unit of almost all rookies led by Jae Crowder and Bernard James was able to reduce the Heat lead to five points in the second quarter. In the second half Dallas made another run after Miami grew its lead to 35 points, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
There were moments that drew attention off the count on Thursday night. In the first half TNT cameras found Texas A&M quarterback and 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel sitting court side. This prompted on-air commentator Steve Kerr to speculate as to how Manziel was able to get those seats, causing a stir on social media. In the fourth quarter there was a fight between fans in the area behind the Heat bench.
The main factor that the Heat can take away from this game is that their defense is starting to show up more consistently to complement the offense.
It may come just in time for the Finals rematch against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Christmas Day.