Heat Look In Mirror, Not At Mavericks

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Normally, we’d spend this time before tonight’s Mavericks-Heat game reflecting on the hand-to-hand combat the teams waged in The Finals last year and all of the tactical drama that could go on in this much-anticipated rematch.

But instead of reflecting, we’re left to examine the drama surrounding the slumping Heat and particularly wounded star LeBron James. A team loses two straight games by a combined 31 points and its catalyst is struggling with a busted finger, aching elbow and that soreness in his neck.

As crazy as it sounds, the Heat are in a position where they have to prove to their legions of doubters (haters or whatever else you want to call them) that they are tougher than it appears. They have to prove they can bounce back from adversity and from this mini-tailspin that has folks wondering if this is a momentary slip or something more significant.

Miami and Dallas are each 6-4 in its last 10 games, but the Mavericks come into tonight’s showdown in Miami (8 p.m. ET, TNT) having won two straight games and free from the over-the-top scrutiny that accompanies the Heat’s every move.

Interestingly enough, these two teams have a way of finding each other at times like this, as Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel pointed out:

Whether it’s winning the 2006 NBA Finals, falling in the 2011 championship series, or snapping a seven-year regular-season losing streak to the Mavericks with a Christmas Day victory in this season’s opener, Dallas has a way of getting the Heat’s attention.

But Thursday at AmericanAirlines Arena, even with Mark Cuban courtside and Finals tormentors Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and Shawn Marion on the court, introspection will be the order of the night.

“At this point, it doesn’t matter,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after Wednesday’s practice at AmericanAirlines Arena of arguably the Heat’s biggest interconference rival arriving in town. “We have to be consumed about our play and how we need to play.”

… “You watch our Christmas Day game compared to the last two games, of the force and pace that we played with that day, it’s night-and-day different,” Spoelstra said. “We can control that. We respect the Dallas Mavericks obviously from last year . . . but right now, out of due respect, it’s about us, it’s about getting to our game, our identity.”

We love that the Heat’s focus is on the team in the mirror and not the guys on the other side of the floor.

While we’re not convinced that the Heat need to retreat to South Beach for a weekend of soul-searching just because they’ve lost a couple of games and stumbled a bit, there is no doubt that tonight’s game will serve as a statement-making opportunity for them against a team that poked holes in their aura of invincibility during the The Finals.

That Christmas Day win didn’t satisfy all of our curiosities about what each team learned from their battle on the big stage in the postseason. The Mavericks were still in (admitted) full-blown championship hangover mode, which took some of the luster off of that meeting for us.

Fair or not, tonight’s matchup once again seems to be all about the Heat.


  1. Trixie I love you says:

    Let some of the Big 3 rest from time to time….. you never know they might get injured, tough loss, it will be hard in the playoffs and anyway they are number 2 they can still make the playoffs no matter what

  2. welcome back to reality says:

    @stan – please read more before u talk, coz it really makes you sound stupid, heat are at their best playing interconference opponents, and okc to win it all? and are proving you right?.. i didn’t see the proof, the only proof you need to shut me down is playoff time.. okc also is not the kind of team that would “grind” games down which is really needed in the playoffs.. and to guys wondering why james jones is benched specially when opponents are playing zone which jones proves he plays he’s best ball when going against zone and earning him a right to be called zone buster for the heat definitely means deeper than what you see, spo might not want jones to play right now and surprise other teams with him playing more minutes in the playoffs specially when opponents use zone against them and nail 3s all day long..

  3. brian says:

    The Heat are going to have one hell of a match up come playoff time. Right now the Celtics and the Sixers are battling for position but if Miami has to play ethier of the two, they could be in serious trouble because the sixers are good and the Celtics are good too. I don’t know. I just feel if Miami has to play the Sixers or the Celtics, I smell an upset.

  4. shweigou says:

    With the high level of basketball being played this season, the Heat will need every last weapon in their arsenal. If they don’t want to face harsh criticism or be the face of future NBA memes, they need to finish the season strong. That being said, LBJ should be get a well deserved rest before playoffs.

  5. howevolution says:

    I love how many people here are calling LBJ weak and the Heat weak merely because he’s hurt. Everyone hates on LBJ waaaaaay too much. Kobe has been hurt numerous times and not played well. Hate on him then? This is a grind it out season, don’t forget that LBJ took over when Wade sat out for a while. He’s been doing his fair share for the Heat this season like usual and deserves some rest. But I don’t think he’ll get it this game. I think the Heat will come out and play at a high level. Why? If not only because they’ve lost 2 straight. Championship calibur teams hardly ever go on large losing streaks and I’m thinking the Heat will stick with that trend. Also, I doubt Dallas could beat OKC in the playoffs this year. But they could beat the Lakers and Spurs.

    • lakers+duke=awsome says:

      yeah we do hate. but kobe was hurt and still got rings. 5 RINGS. How many does bronbron have? and are we taling about the same kobe. people hate on him all the time. this game is full of haters. look on a kb story and n you will see hate. but this is a lebron post s hes gonna get hate more.

  6. Manuj Money says:

    dude, if i was lebron, id steal an ace bandage, and improve my shooting%….Munnie is in da house!!!! Hide your kids, hide your wife, bc imma steal them!!!

  7. Heathialeahfan says:

    the only rest that the Heat needs is for Spolestra and Joel Anthony (cabeza de bote)

  8. ed says:

    Heat have to solve 3 problems:
    1. Get Bosh involved on both ends of the floor. I can’r believe I’m saying this after a year and a half, but I haven’t seen effective half-court schemes from Spoelstra that involves all 3 stars. In fact they’re much more comfortable in half court offence when Bosh plays with LBJ and/or Wade on the bench. That leads to the second point
    2. Bring experienced head coach to the team. imagine what could coaches like Pop or Adelman do with this team…
    3. Mario Chalmers

  9. heat fan says:

    heat dosent need to prove anything they are second in the east and they need to rest some of their starters we are now entering the playoffs specially james give much more credit to the guy his playing superb in all the games he played and this time its bash time to take over the games cause his playing silently good but still its not the plays that he is doing back in the raptors

  10. jone says:

    i agree miami needs to rest their star players,.

  11. Kathryn Shafer says:

    Spo has still not learned how to get the max from a group of such talented, personalities. I’m not just talking about talent. I’m talking about how to inspire, lead, create a true “team” mindset, do the Rivers or T thing to get everyone on the same page…running full tilt all the time. While his x’s and o’s on paper may look good, when it comes to game time, his decision making is far too slow, changing up line-ups, plays, calls. To win a championship this team is going to need a tough minded, strong willed leader…I’ve been saying this for the last year and a half and will continue to do so, until I’m proven wrong…GO HEAT! GO LBJ…who by the by, probably does need some rest…too bad this last part of their schedule is so tough.

  12. Ben says:

    The Heat will be fine. I think they should rest Lebron and save their energy for the playoffs. It’s not about the team with the best reg season record, but about the team that’s going in hot and streaky. Look at Chicago last year, or look at Green Bay also. Both had outstanding records and fell in the playoffs.

  13. Birdman says:

    I Don’t Think The Heat Needs Todo Anything . Look At The Way Things Are Going Now . The Beating All These No Good Teams & When It Comes Down To The So Called “Best” (OKC , Bulls , Clippers , Lakers , Etc.) They Losing . Those Are Statement Games . They Are Not , I Repeat , THEY ARE NOT Going To Win A Championship Playing Like This . Those Are Statement Games . Why The Other Teams Comes To Play & The Heat Comes With An “Idc” Attitude . They Need To Win These Games . The Hell Ya’ll Talking Bout . Every Team Goes Threw The Same Thing , It All Boils Down To Who Wants It More . & From The Looks Of Things , OKC Wants It More Right Now . The Bulls Wants It More Right Now . The Spurs Wants It More Right Now . The Heat Are Out There Playing Off Talent . That’s It . They Ain’t Going To Win NO Championship Like That . I’ma Heat Fan , I’ma Big Heat Fan . Prolly The Bigges One Out There . But They Ain’t Playing Like They Want It . Look At Kobe , This Dude Old AF , Out There Playing With A Broken Finger , A Broken Nose , & They Still In 3rd Place In The WC .Wtf . That Dude Wants It . & It Shows . They Sit Lebron Because Of A Broken Finger Or Jammed Finger He Will Never Hear The End Of It . You Gotta Want It . & If Lebron Want It He Will Do What He Have Todo . He’s The Best Player In The League At This Moment . The Heat Are Not Consistent . & That Is Going To Catch Up With Them . The Reagular Season Counts . Point Blank Period . The BIG 3 Needs To Get That Killer Instinct In Them & Get It Together .

  14. JDUB says:

    It dont matter if they rest lebron or not…when its game 6 or 7 of the championship series (if they make it that far) he will find a way to choke. What will it be? a hard foul that leads to him rolling around on the floor like he broke his back? Afraid to take the last shot? Miami fans might as well face it,Lebron cant finish and Wade cant do it all by him self.

  15. laker fannnnn says:

    so funny how lbj needs all this rest when kobe playz through his injuries!!! lbj, man up buddy!!! and all u folks that always compare lebron to kobe shuld see why kobe is always gonnabe better than queeen lebron!!!! hahahahahaa

    • NOT A HEAT FAN AT ALL says:

      shutup!! Kobe got benched!!!! Choke on that!

      • lakers+duke=awsome says:

        and he was mad that his teammats didn’t make open shots wouldnt u be. Also hes playing the second most min. even with that hes scoring the most and being overused. although because of this hes shooting like 20 out of 50. but ramon sessios and bynum maturing will help him take less shots ad snd less min. on the floor. and change ur name please.and to ;aker fan last season kobe was tired and injured all the time. you of all pople shoud sympathize. i say Lakers have a slight chance to win it all. if they can pull something like the mavercks didand the bench give morethan 10 pts. i say Bulls will win it best record doing great without rose. If the lakers had a bench i would say they coul have won it all but they dont sp bulls. although i hope lakers win tonight. gonna be a great game.

      • The Worm 91 says:

        i think people are talking about this year, this season…not last season. move on.

    • King James says:

      Did I say I needed rest? When I am dressed for the game I am healthy and ready to play. My dunks with a hurt elbow are still way more powerful then Kobe’s dunks ever were.
      By the way I think Kobe should have done the same thing Manu Ginobili did with sitting out games to allow his wrist to heal. He should realize his ballhogging and terrible shot selection this season really hurts his team. I mean come on, I dont expect him to come close to my 54% FG% but he has like 43% while averaging 24 shot attempts. Thank god Bynum is healthy and Pau is playing better then during the end of last season. And MWP always cracks me up with taking threes, has he ever had a better night than going 2-7 from the fi

    • LoL says:

      Lebrons ALREADY better than KB LOL

  16. Stan says:

    OKC is who I picked to win it all and they are proving me right. If the heat were in the West they would be just another 500 club but in the east they are contenders. They already get enough press no need to keep writing the same stuff about them. Without James they are a below 500 club in the west.

    • ed says:

      i agree with your favourite to win the west pick. OKC should and will do it this year. Perhaps only LAL could give them hard time if they find 3-pt shooting range and Bynum stays healthy.
      East will be pretty much between CHI and MIA, and I have to admitt I admire CHI efforts put into preparing the team to play without or with low production from Rose (as he might be shut down by heat again).

      MIA lost to OKC showed that MIA stars have to be at their prime to compete with OKC. Untill they figured out how to keep Bosh more involved on both ends of the floor and balance their fast breaks with good half-court offence they are not going anywhere.

    • NOT A HEAT FAN AT ALL says:

      are you serious? Put the heat in the west and they would be just another 500 club? What are you smoking on? The wesst is the stronger conference, but its not like the heat is other than 1 or 2 in the east, let alone top 5 in the league, So many critcized them after they got dusted by bulls, and celtics in the regular season, and then drowned by the bulls in GAME 1! And what happened after that? Chicago lost 4 straight. Miami is built for the playoffs. they play better in postseason, so we will soon see! Give credit where its due

  17. Deb Sen says:

    Come June, all of you will be speaking of something else when Heat play game 6 of the Finals. For reference find out how many best-record teams won the Finals in the last 12 years. Boston in ’08. Spurs in ’03. The record is 2-12. What happens now will not be ever spoken of after this blog unless records are set (someone hitting 60+ in a game or pulling a 20-20-20 or a 30-30)

  18. jason says:

    IDK about yall, but I’m diggin James’ beard

  19. Another point to show you It ´s the fact that Miami last year gave showtime in all series and that is something tremendous value. Each time they beat Atlanta, Boston or Chicago they gave thanks to them for participate. That shows sports-spirit on the Miami Heat.

  20. I think there´s no excuses for the Heat if they win or they lose. All teams are in the same conditions and with the same rules, So I think Miami has something to prove, oh yeah…Im heat fan but I think that….dont get scare in fourth quarter.

  21. DadeCountyAllStar says:

    It’s really quite simple, Spoelstra needs to plays D3, Bron, and Bosh the same that Popovich has been rotating Parker, Ginobli, and Duncan. It is the most effective way to keep the Heat driving into the playoffs, while not running our guys dry. They want to pick up the Chalmers and James Jones slack, it’s even simpler, give Terrell Harris some minutes. If anyone watched any of the preseason games that kid can shoot under pressure, imagine if they let him develop. Easy enough, they just need to make it happen.

  22. Jeff says:

    The Heat should rest each of the big three alternatively from here until the playoffs. At least give them a few nights off or reduced minutes . Who cares if they loose to Dallas tonight? Its not like they are going to miss the playoffs which is all that team should really be concerned about. There has been at least 10 of these articles since the big three came together about how they are slumping or how they have to truly dig deep to overcome adversity. WHO CARES? its the regular season this team is built for the post season and in the end thats all they will be judged by. Write a more interesting atricle im tired of this

  23. that probally why the heat are losing lately, because lebrons elbow hurts and his neck is sore and, ho yea and he broke a nail.

  24. jason suarez says:

    The Heat really need to rest James. Actually they should have been alternating using the him and Wade whenever possible this year. Hopefully they can get in a good enough position so that the last few games allow for them to rest.

  25. jason suarez says:

    we still beast

  26. kenet says:

    very well explained! james is still human. just see what happen to OKC.

  27. Maynard says:

    If the heat want a win tonight, James better be in their starting line-up. I have a feeling Dirk and Jet are gonna come out and have great games, Terry: 24 pts., Dirk: 28 pts., with a Mavs win. The Mavs will not be going quietly this year. They’ll be in the mix for a while.

  28. contenders or pretenders? the heat will have to decide in the next few weeks..check out these stats for the heat: http://www.mindofmattman.com

  29. Jack says:

    true! coach erik must try other personnel to field in so that when playoff time he can turn on them when they are needed. as of now its too obvious that every rival team exactly knows where the ball will go because these 3 guys are ball dominant, and if i were spo, i will make other rotations to confused rival teams, this is just my fair opinion. Let LBJ rest if needed, he is averaging nearly 40mins/G and its obvious that he is tired. let the bench play more minutes, anyway positioning for the playoff is not that important right now, look at the bulls, i can say that DRose is fresh when playoff time comes…

    • Showbaba Canada says:

      Even tonight game HEAT don’t need to prove anything to Dallas beccause Dallas aren\t going any where with the level SPURS, LAKERS AND OKC are playiing now. I’m sorry I don’t see Dallas in the Western Finals. PERIOD. So if Dallas want they can go ahead to beat Heat tonight but that doesn’t mean they are sending SPURS or OKC out in the playoff.

    • Kentucky all the way says:

      i agree…

  30. ZULU says:

    As good as they are LeBron, Wade and Bosh will need the rest of the team. Excellent point that Spoelstra need to plan their playing time better. All things considered he’s a coach looking over his shoulder always. Injuries, bench play and fresh legs will determine who wins it all.

  31. NBEATZ says:

    Give Brone a rest and give Bosh more room to put up points, we all know he can do that I mean he was averaging almost 27 PPG and a;most 10 RPG when DWade was out.

  32. BelizeBoy says:

    The Heat really need to rest James. Actually they should have been alternating using the him and Wade whenever possible this year. Hopefully they can get in a good enough position so that the last few games allow for them to rest.

    • nsjdnasjkn says:

      I agree, Heat is good enough to keep pace with chicago without James, maybe not gain but they shouldnt fall back much. They need James shooting 55% like he has all season but last couple of weeks hes just been off, its obvious he needs rest

      • Showbaba Canada says:

        I cannot agree less with you guys. Let the coach rest James for now, he deserves it. Let Bosh and Wade run the court for now and if possible the coach has to find a way to use James Jones, benching Jones always to 1 minute 2 minutes play does not make any sense to me. Set him up to throw in 3s because Miller is out and Charmers cannot play at the level he started the season and I think may be charmers too need some rest give him less minutes for now. The new miami big guy is playing well, give RT more minutes for now. Untill Miller, James and Charmers come back or find thier rythym.

      • kobe says:

        have u seen Heats schedule rest of the way..they cant afford to rest Lebron..thats why he is playing thru these injuries..they know how important these games r and so should the rest of Heat nation..they want home court advantage (espically against BULLS – OKC)

    • LAL says:

      I just want the Heat to fail again this year, so PJax can step in as the coach next season. How come nobody talked about resting Kobe? He is 34 and playing night in and night out. LBJ is at his prime time, need some rest?

      • David says:

        Nah, getting PJax will make the Heat too good that the games will be all blow outs, getting Dwight Howard is good enough. Dwight should understand that there is no place better than the Heat at winning a championship, so he should take a major salary cut.

      • Showbaba Canada says:

        @LAL. Kobi had no injury and LJ had injury but playing through it. Another thing is that Kobi had a rest the last time on the bench but he doesn’t like it okay. Let me tell you now that you would not be happy this year because as you wish my to fail, you already fail. Miami is going to the NBA Finals with SPURS. I wish for MIAMI AND OKC but I can’t trust OKC with SPURS. When Miami pick up the championship you would not be happy as you wish.