Terry Rozier's best game in a Heat uniform isn't enough as Miami falls short in Dallas

Rozier put together his strongest all-around performance in Dallas, but clutch shooting from Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving closed out the Heat on the road.

Miami Heat v Dallas Mavericks
Miami Heat v Dallas Mavericks / Tim Heitman/GettyImages

The Miami Heat had their work cut out for them heading into this two-game road trip against the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder -- a pair of Western Conference, offensive powerhouses. Miami's first effort came up short, as Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving closed out the Heat in crunch time en route to 114-108 loss.

Miami dropped to a 35-27 record on the season but still remain as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Heat jumped out to a double-digit lead early in the first quarter and kept a lead for the first half until experiencing some “Luka Magic” following halftime. Doncic was mostly held in check for the beginning of this game, but he wound up putting together an elite triple-double performance. It was his fifth consecutive game with a triple-double, tying Russell Westbrook for the longest streak since 2017. He finished the night with 35 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists on 12 of 24 (50%) shooting. 

Doncic’s running mate, Irving, also added 23 points, four rebounds and four assists including a dagger corner three in the final minutes of the game. Dante Exum proved to be an X-factor for Dallas as well, stepping up with some clutch plays of his own down the stretch. For a Mavericks team that has one of the higher-ranked offenses in the NBA, Miami put in a great effort and held a lot of their other rotation players to low shooting efficiency.  

In fact, the Heat even shot the ball better for the game as a team at 49% compared to the Mavs’ 46% shooting. They also had the advantage in 3-point shooting, registering a team 45% shooting in that department to the Mavs’ 39%. However, the Heat struggled at the free throw line going just 11 for 17. Both teams handled the basketball well with just 10 and nine turnovers, respectively. Dallas won the rebounding department 45-37; a facet of the game where the Heat could have used Kevin Love for a boost. Love was sidelined again with his injured heel, and did not travel with the team during this short pair of road games.

Terry Rozier had his best game in a Heat uniform despite the loss.

The most clear-cut takeaway during this Heat loss was the performance of Terry Rozier, who had his greatest all-around performance since being acquired by Miami from the Charlotte Hornets before the trade deadline. Rozier finished with 27 points, 11 assists and six rebounds on 10 for 17 shooting and 5 for 8 from deep. He didn't have a single turnover as the team’s primary ball handler. His shooting efficiency, confidence and lift in his jump shots were a welcome sight. As each game has gone by, the talented scoring guard has looked more comfortable and shown he can make a real impact for this Heat squad when healthy and at his best.

Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo each played over 35 minutes and although they had solid all-around outings, the scoring was a struggle. Adebayo especially, who finished with just 14 points on 5 for 14 shooting and also only went 4 for 8 from the charity stripe. Butler had 14 points as well on 50% shooting but just wasn’t aggressive enough to lead Miami on that end of the floor. A big part of that was the Mavericks defense, which sent doubles and collapsed on Butler whenever he would penetrate and get close to the rim. He attempted only 12 shots on the night.

Duncan Robinson started the game on fire and continued to showcase his hot shooting as of late, finishing with 19 points on 70% shooting and 5/8 from 3-point range. He didn’t get much fourth-quarter action to close the game out because of the synergy of the lineup with Caleb Martin and Jaime Jaquez Jr. playing well with the core of Butler, Adebayo and Rozier.

Martin and Jaquez also had solid performances of their own, but Martin committed a foul on one of the final possessions of the game that closed the door of any chance of stealing the road win. The Heat cut it to a three-point game with just over 30 seconds left and had time to get a stop and attempt a game-tying bucket, but Martin went for the steal and fouled right before the Mavericks 24-second shot clock expired. They were in the bonus, knocked down two free throws and iced the game.

Miami needed some more production out of Nikola Jovic, the team’s starting power forward, who only finished four points in 16 minutes of action. The Heat have been benefiting from his aggressiveness on the offensive end with his up-tempo style, pushing the ball up and spreading the floor with his long-range shooting ability. However, he was a non-factor in this one.

The Heat will get a chance to bounce back on the second night of a back-to-back in Oklahoma City Friday night.