Luka Doncic led the Dallas Mavericks to victory against the top-seeded Miami Heat with a 21 point,10 rebound double-double. The guard also had 6 assists and had support from his teammates Jalen Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, and Davis Bertans who all had double-digit scoring in the game. The Mavericks have been a very solid team once they overcame their early-season struggles and are currently in the 5th spot in the western conference.
The Heat had great performances from Jimmy Butler (29 points and 10 rebounds) and Bam Adebayo (21 points and 12 rebounds). The only other players with double-digit scoring were Kyle Lowry (13 points) and Omer Yurtseven (11 points and 8 rebounds). Ultimately the undermanned Heat fell to Mavericks and 6th man of the year frontrunner, Tyler Herro was severely missed as the team could have used his offensive input in the game.
The Heat continues to be on top of the East despite the loss but does have the Chicago Bulls right on their heels. The 2 teams have the same record and are currently the top 2 teams in the eastern conference. It is extremely impressive that the Heat has managed to become first in the conference despite being riddled with injuries and COVID throughout the season. At one stretch, the Heat were competing with their starters comprising of undrafted players. It speaks volumes of the infamous heat culture that Pat Riley established in the organization and the great job that Erik Spoelstra has done as a coach.
Speaking of great coaching jobs, I have to mention the great job that Jason Kidd has done with the Mavs. While it did not start great with Luka missing a lot of games and the team adjusting to the new coach, the Mavericks are playing some great basketball over the past few weeks. The team has a top5 defensive rating this season and has some really good pieces around their superstar, Luka Doncic. The Mavericks have lost in the first round of the playoffs 2 times in a row. While I do believe trading away Kristaps Porzingis was a loss as they didn’t get a piece as good as him in return, the Mavericks will be a tough out for any team facing them in the playoffs.