Who: Dallas Mavericks vs. Miami Heat
Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
When: Fri. Nov. 15th at 7:30 pm ET
TV Channel: Sun Sports
The Dallas Mavericks head to South Beach to face the Miami Heat tonight, or as Dirk Nowitzki might refer to it, returning to “the scene of the crime.” These teams have met in the NBA Finals twice since 2006 and that has certainly left bad blood between them. Since then, Cuban and Nowitzki haven’t been shy in sharing their hatred for the Heat. Dallas is a fringe contender for the playoffs this season, and a victory would be a big step in believing in this squad. However, similar to last year, the Mavericks have many new pieces on the team. One of them, shooting hound Monta Ellis, has shown flashes of being a quality No. 2 man for Dallas.
“Monta is currently laying waste to pre-conceived notions on the Dallas Mavericks and it is my sincere hope his mini-Renaissance lasts the entire season and that we get more and more ‘I was so wrong’ articles from the supposed intellectuals of the hoops blogosphere. So yes, embarrassed as I am to admit it to certain folks: I AM TEAM MONTA AND ALWAYS HAVE BEEN….This is the guy who may legitimately have people Googling ‘Can you win Most Improved Player twice?’ and might just give Dirk one last chance to claim some legacy playoff performances.”
Nowitzki, who won’t stop scoring anytime soon, is climbing on the all-time scoring charts, passing “The Logo” Jerry West in the Mavericks last game. Expect No. 41 to be charged up for Friday night and come to the Miami arena with his game face on.
At the start of the week, the Heat were 4-3 and coming off a loss to a far inferior Boston Celtics team and Bron wasn’t shy in sharing his frustrations, blasting his team’s defensive efforts. The Heat responded in a big way against Milwaukee with its reserves coming through for its stars. We know what the “Big Three” can do, but developing its new role players to rely on will be pivotal this season if Miami wants a shot at a three-peat. Wes Goldberg (@wcgoldberg) of SI’s Heat page, All U Can Heat (@FanSidedHEAT), praised Miami’s Michael Beasley following the Heat’s dismantling of Milwaukee Bucks this week.
“We knew Beasley can score, and his 19-point game–good enough for second on the team behind LeBron’s 33– was certainly impressive. What was more impressive, however, was Beasley’s dedication to the defensive end. He was solid on rotations and was in good position. The ability to play within the Heat’s defense is of the upmost importance. It is what has kept guys like Rashard Lewis, James Jones and, in years past, Mike Miller on the bench for extended stretches. If Beasley can be consistent on that end, he will find himself a regular part of the Heat rotation.”
Richard Nurse (@blackirishpr) of Rant Sports (@RantSports) also made note of Beasley’s improvement with Miami against Milwaukee and is encouraged by games like this for the Heat to establish a strong second unit off the bench.
“Performances like this make fans wish that Erik Spoelstra would find a way to get Beasley in with the group when Haslem is healthy — or at least get him into a second half without Allen ailing. Because this team could be dangerous once the big dogs put a little trust in the young ones.”
With both teams coming into this early season matchup with identical 5-3 records, the Heat and Mavericks are looking to make a statement against one another while adding to the clout in this well-documented rivalry.
Adam Hurst (@hurstas) is a regular contributor of NBA and NFL coverage to the movoli blog.
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- NBA preview: Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (movoli.com)
- Tuesday night NBA grades: Straight “A”s for Nowitzki, Beasley, Lakers bench (probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- Dallas Mavericks putting up points (isportsweb.com)