The All-Star Break came and went and, depending on who you ask, you might not have missed much or you witnessed the development of the NBA’s future.
A quick recap, just in case – Damian Lillard is everywhere, Chris Bosh’s range is unlimited, John Wall can really dunk, and Marco Belinelli can really shoot when he’s not facing Miami.
And now back to the regular season grind.
The Heat (37-14) resume their six-game road trip against the Dallas Mavericks (32-22), a team that has been surprisingly good in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. Surprisingly, that is, to everyone except the Mavericks themselves.
“If we get into the playoffs,” says Rick Carlisle, the team’s head coach, “we’re gonna be a team people don’t want to play.”
Early season prognosticators had Dallas pegged as unlikely contenders, a flawed group trying to mesh aging stars (Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter and Shawn Marion) with complementary pieces (Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert) that have glaring holes in their respective games. But somehow, it’s worked.
“In this league,” Carlisle told Grantland’s Zach Lowe, “you have to embrace who you are. We have to embrace our inner misfitness.”
Whether Carlisle is overstating the team’s performance or their recent play is just a fluke, something is happening in Dallas, even if no one is quite sure what. But, as winners of six of their last eight games (including a 5-game win streak and a blowout over the Indiana Pacers), one thing is clear – the Mavericks can play.
Miami is riding a feel-good victory over the Golden State Warriors, one that featured a game-winning shot from LeBron James. Overshadowed in the win is the fact the Heat allowed a 21-point lead to evaporate against a team that was missing their best interior player, Andrew Bogut.
If Miami hopes to continue their winning ways, they’ll best take Dallas seriously, certainly more than they did when they met in the 2011 NBA Finals.
As Mavericks owner and confirmed Heat-hater Mark Cuban told Lowe, “We haven’t played our best basketball yet.”
They’ll get a chance to prove that when they square off against Miami.
The telecast of this game begins at 8:30 P.M. on SunSports from the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Check back with AllUCanHeat for a recap after the game.