DALLAS – While Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks were on the court celebrating the championship they won over LeBron James and Dwyane Wade last season, the Miami Heat were gathered in another part of the building.
It wasn’t because they dreaded watching the ceremony, they insisted.
They were simply getting ready to show everyone why they are favored to win it.
James and Wade led a series of scoring waves that put Miami ahead by 35 points midway through the third quarter, the lead peaking when James soared to the rim and tipped an alley-oop pass to Wade so he could have the dunk instead. The game was essentially over then, although the Mavs reserves fueled a late rally that made the final score look close, 105-94.
“We tried to play aggressive,” James said. “We’re a focused team. We had a great training camp. We came in with the same mindset we had at practice, use our speed and play with mental focus.”
James finished with 37 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Wade had 26 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Miami scored at least 30 points in each of the first three quarters.
“Celebration or not, we had a game plan and implemented it,” Wade said. “We came out and played a good game.”
Maybe the pregame festivities left the Mavs emotionally drained because they were down by 15 after one quarter and 21 at halftime. They gave up 14 straight points early in the third.
The blowout had less to do with an emotional hangover and more to do with exposing the slow process of breaking in a new rotation. Dallas lost center Tyson Chandler and backup point guard J.J. Barea and added guard Vince Carter, do-it-all Lamar Odom and backup guard Delonte West.
The Heat scored 18 points in the paint in the first quarter, while the Mavs scored a total of 17 that period – none in the paint. Both Miami’s 18 and Dallas’ 0 are an indication of how badly the Mavs will miss Chandler.
Miami went on a 12-0 run late in the first quarter, a 15-1 spurt in the second quarter, then the 14-0 binge in the third period.