The playoffs smelled good tonight at the FTX Arena! After a real trench warfare, where the baskets were as rare as the show, it was the Mavericks who managed to take over the Heat (107-99).
However outside, while Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans took the opportunity to start in their new colors, the teammates of a well-defended Luka Doncic (21 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists) relied on their collective (five players over 10 points) to end Miami’s winning streak.
Because, despite all the efforts of the pair Jimmy Butler (29 points, 10 rebounds) – Bam Adebayo (21 points, 12 rebounds), the leaders of the Eastern Conference have not been able to leave with a sixth success of in a row. And the Floridians will be able to regret their atrocious second period in particular, they who plunged offensively after the break, unlike Dallas, who obtained there a fifth victory in six games.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
— Dallas reverses roles in one half. In the hard part at halftime (41% on shots), Luka Doncic and more generally the Mavericks took advantage of the break to get their ideas straight and come back with all other intentions. Between defense found (only 40 points conceded, 30% on shots or 7% at 3-pts!) and address behind the saving arc (18 award-winning successes in total, at 43% success), Jason Kidd’s men have gradually took control of the match, managing to pass in front at the end of the third quarter, never to let go of the controls thereafter. And quietly manage the “money-time”, as bosses.
— Another lead wasted by Miami. They were probably very few to imagine such a turnaround, at the break. Firmly in the lead after 24 minutes (59-51), and leading up to 13 points apart, the Florida players then stammered their basketball. And as against the Nets on Saturday night, it was in attack that they struggled to exist and make a difference. Of course, the Mavericks defense had something to do with it, but Erik Spoelstra’s men also lacked inspiration. While, their ball losses excepted, everything was going for the best at half-time for them, on this side of the floor (52% on shots, 46% at 3-pts).
— And yet, Luka Doncic was well contained… Regularly taken two by his opponents, who have not stopped imposing a real physical challenge on him, the Slovenian could not weigh as usual today, apart from the third quarter (11 points). However, the Mavs generally managed the minutes they had to play without their maestro very well, limited to 6/19 on shots and 2/7 on 3-pts. With in particular the beautiful sequences of a very good Jalen Brunson with the stick, when Doncic was resting. The kind of collective performance that must delight Jason Kidd, because his second knives have all responded.
✅ Jimmy Butler & Bam Adebayo. The two strong men of Erik Spoelstra at least had the merit of being there today, despite the defeat. Both combative and aggressive, with 14 free throws attempted and 19 shots attempted respectively, Butler and Adebayo floated on the South Beach side, with baskets in the paint. While the rest of their teammates were having difficulty scoring with regularity. Without Tyler Herro, the Butler / Adebayo tandem thus found themselves too lonely offensively, Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson or even Gabe Vincent not managing to support them properly.
✅ Maxi Kléber. If Davis Bertans was valuable off the bench for his debut (12 points in 13 minutes, 3/7 at 3-pts) and Dorian Finney-Smith (14 points) or Jalen Brunson (19 points, 6 assists) have been true to form in the five, Kleber was the most prominent Mavericks player today. With his 19 points, 6 rebounds and 5 blocks compiled in 35 minutes, the German was indeed decisive on each side of the floor. Very good at protecting his circle after the break, while Dallas suffered before that at this level, the Texan strong winger also made the powder speak from afar (3/8 to 3-pts). A full game, then.
⛔ Gabe Vincent. Catastrophic in shooting (1/9 on shots, including 1/7 at 3-pts…), the Miami back probably embodied the difficulties in this sector of his team better than anyone, after the break. Tyler Herro absent, the American-Nigerian was called upon to take over, in this role of spark off the bench. Except that it did not happen, because he never knew how to find his rhythm for the evening. A meeting to quickly forget for him, therefore, the advantage being that it was not the very first time that the Florida sniper experienced such a crisis of address.
Miami (37-21) : trip to Charlotte, on the night of Thursday to Friday (01:00).
Dallas (34-24) : trip to New Orleans, overnight from Thursday to Friday (02:00).