James, Wade lead Heat over Mavericks

Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- On a night in which Miami Heat forward LeBron James scored a season-high 39 points, teammate Dwyane Wade managed to steal a little bit of his spotlight.
And why not?
Wade stole just about everything else Friday night in the Heat's 110-104 win over the Dallas Mavericks at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Wade had 17 points, a season-high eight assists and a career-high eight steals. He also had five rebounds and no turnovers in 36 minutes.
"The more alert and active (Wade) is, that's the type of playmaker he is -- to be able to make reads in our defense," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of the Miami guard.
"He makes those anticipation reads like a free safety on the weak-side. He's active on the ball with deflections, and he has that ability to be in several different places for us on our defense."
Wade's only negative was at the foul line, where he made only 3 of 7, missing two straight with 1:24 left in the game.
"I'm going to make some free throws one day," said Wade, who played his first turnover-free game of the season. "I just don't want to miss those shots."
James, meanwhile, didn't miss much of anything. He made 14 of 18 from the floor, including one of one on 3-pointers, and made 10 of 11 from the foul line.
Still, Spoelstra, ever the perfectionist, found some fault with James' game.
"He will probably roll his eyes at me, but when I look at this box score, the first number I see is the six turnovers," Spoelstra said. "But he was tremendous -- very efficient."
In a matchup of the two teams that have combined to win the past three NBA titles, the two-time defending champion Heat (6-3) got the better of the Mavs (5-4).
Forward Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with a season-high 28 points. He made 8 of 12 shots from the floor, including 3 of 5 on 3-pointers, and added 9 of 10 from the foul line.
"It takes incredible discipline and concentration to defend a team that has Dirk on it," Spoelstra said. "He is so clever, so skilled, and then the size and then the shooting. You tend to overreact on everything. If he just looks at the rim, you are jumping.
"He has earned that reputation and that respect because of what he has done over a long period of time."
Trailing 102-99 with 1:00 left, the Mavs had a chance to tie. But Mavs guard Monta Ellis missed a 3-pointer. Heat forward Chris Bosh then grabbed the rebound and made two free throws to help Miami pull away.
Ellis had 20 points but none in the fourth quarter.
Miami had 19 steals and five blocks, forcing a season-high 24 Mavs turnovers.
"We had too many turnovers in too many critical situations," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "It was going on the whole game. We never got it totally under control."
In the third quarter, the Mavericks put together a 19-4 run to take a 72-70 lead. But the Heat responded with a 17-6 spurt to lead 86-77 heading into the final period.
James had 11 points in the third quarter and was the main reason Miami was able to withstand Dallas' challenge. James was quiet for most of the third quarter, but in the final 2:36, he hit a 3-pointer and three mid-range jumpers to help the Heat regain the lead.
Miami led after the first half 60-51. The Heat outscored the Mavs 29-19 in order to take that advantage. Wade had 11 points in the second quarter, making three jumpers, three free throws and a layup.
"I thought we played three really good quarters," Carlisle said. "But the second quarter was not good."
The Mavericks led 32-31 after the first quarter. They got that lead primarily due to the play of Nowitzki, who was perfect in his shooting, making all three of his 3-pointers and going 3-for-3 on the foul line for 12 points.
Nowitzki's brilliant quarter was virtually matched by James, who had 13 points after hitting 5 of 7 from the field and 3 of 3 from the foul line.
Ironically, James this season has crafted his own fade-away jumper from the Nowtizki mold.
"I'm continuing to evolve my game," James said. "You guys know from when I got here to now where my post game and midrange games have gone. I'm just trying to get better to where I feel comfortable on every spot on the floor.'
NOTES: With 5:01 left in the fourth quarter, Heat PG Mario Chalmers was ejected after he elbowed Nowitzki. ... Mavs SG Vince Carter had a season-high 22 points. ... Heat F Udonis Haslem (back spasms) missed his third straight game. But he has practiced two straight days and could be ready for the Heat's next game Saturday at the Charlotte Bobcats. ... Heat G Ray Allen (illness) missed his second straight game and "probably" won't make the trip to Charlotte, according to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. Allen went through Friday's shoot-around but still feels weak. ... Mavericks G Wayne Ellington (bruised right thigh) and F Brandan Wright (left shoulder) are out. ... Mavericks rookie PG Shane Larkin, a first-round pick out of the University of Miami, began practicing, but there is no timetable yet for his return. ... Mavericks PG Devin Harris (toe injury) is due back in mid-December.

What to Read Next