5 TAKEAWAYS FROM THE 126-118 LOSS TO HEAT
FOURTH QUARTER MELTDOWN: After gaining control of the game by outscoring Miami, 38-25, in the third quarter for a 93-88 lead, the Mavs were unable to finish the job because they got outscored by the Heat in the fourth quarter by an identical 38-25 margin. Miami regained control when it opened the fourth quarter on a 13-0 run to take a 101-93 lead. From there, the two teams basically traded baskets and split 50 points down the middle for the duration of the game. Poor defense, lack of shot-making, putting the Heat in the bonus early in the fourth quarter and other issues wound up costing the Mavs during the game’s precious moments.
CURRY WAS IN A ZONE: Seth Curry was in one of those coveted zones every player wishes they could be in every game. When you add up every shot he attempted – including free throws – the six-year guard made 16 out of 19. That includes 13-of-15 shots from the field and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe. But what was equally incredible was Curry’s proficiency from downtown as he was so effective from beyond the 3-point arc that he hit eight of his nine attempts from behind the 3-point line. In all, Curry scored a career-high 37 points, besting his previous high of 31 points against Minnesota on Feb. 24, 2017.
DONCIC PLAYED THROUGH PAIN: It was not the 21st birthday present Luka Doncic envisioned. Then again, Doncic was unable to completely be himself because the sprained left thumb that he suffered in Wednesday’s victory at San Antonio was still bothering him against the Heat and played a major role in his inability to be on top of his game. Doncic finished the night with 23 points, four rebounds and 10 assists, and was 7-of-17 from the field. But he also turned the ball over six times, missed all six of his 3-point tries, and his frustration boiled over when he was assessed a technical foul with 6:34 remaining in the third quarter. After the game, Doncic said: “I’m sorry with my language, but I played like (expletive). I wasn’t myself, obviously. I didn’t know how important the thumb was until I couldn’t hold the ball, so it was tough.”
A BONUS FOR MIAMI: The Mavs committed three team fouls in the first 57 seconds of the fourth quarter. That was critical, because a short time later the Heat found themselves in the bonus situation that ultimately slowed the game to a crawl with every foul committed by the Mavs, which was crucial to the game getting away. Unable to exert themselves physically on defense in the fourth quarter, the Mavs stood idly and watched Miami convert 13-of-15 free throws in the fourth quarter, while Dallas was only 3-of-3 from the line in the final 12 minutes. It was reminiscent of the bad blood that existed between these two franchises when former Heat guard Dwyane Wade shot 25 free throws in Game 5 of the 2006 NBA Finals, which was as many as the Mavericks attempted as a team in that game. On Friday, the Heat were 27-of-36 from the line while the Mavs were just 17-of-19.
SLOVENIAN PLAYERS DONCIC AND DRAGIC ARE SKILLFUL: Slovenia native Luka Doncic said it was very special to play against fellow Slovenian, Goran Dragic. “We won EuroBasket together,” Doncic said. “He was leading the (Slovenian National) team. He was the captain. He’ll always be a mentor for me and it’s special to go against him.” Heat forward Andre Iguodala was very impressed with Doncic and Dragic. “You’ve got two guys that played some incredible basketball during the World Games,” he said. “Goran’s a Finals MVP. Doncic is a young kid, but what he’s done at the tender age of 21, the trajectory that he has. . .Slovenia is one of those countries where in the basketball world it’s known as one of the top countries in terms of (players being) fundamentally sound, really locked into their basketball skills at a young age and grooming them into pros. You see guys transitioning into the NBA game so easily because they’re fundamentally sound and the game comes to them so naturally.”