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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, February 18th (All times Eastern)

Miami Heat (37-14) at Dallas Mavericks (32-22), 8:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The second half of the NBA season has treated the Miami Heat quite well in recent years and they hope a third time's a charm.

The two-time defending champion Heat begin their post All-Star Game schedule Tuesday night against the Dallas Mavericks in the continuation of a western road trip.

Miami is 3-1 on the road trip and previously took the court in a thrilling 111-110 victory at Golden State last Wednesday, as All-Star LeBron James hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.2 seconds left. James' shot followed Stephen Curry's 3-point play to make it 110-108 with 14.6 seconds remaining.

The Heat sank 10-of-22 3-pointers and shot 53.8 percent from the field.

"I always want to come through for (my teammates)," said James, who had 36 points on the night and is third in the NBA with 26.5 ppg. "Obviously I'm not going to be successful every time, but to be able to deliver for them tonight meant everything."

James had 22 points, seven assists and seven rebounds in the All-Star Game.

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh joined James for the New Orleans festivities and combined for 15 points. Wade is listed as probable for Tuesday's game in Big D because of a sore foot.

The Heat are 10-3 since Jan, 17 and have a 17-10 road record this season. They will wrap up the road trip Thursday against NBA leading scorer Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Miami, which is 2 1/2 games behind Indiana for the East's top seed, has only three home games during February.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is three wins shy of 300 in his career.

Dallas is hoping to continue its postseason push through the tough Western Conference and knocked off the NBA-best Pacers before the All-Star break.

In last Wednesday's 81-73 triumph at Indiana in the finale of a three-game road trip (2-1), Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki scored 23 and 18 points, respectively, for the Mavericks, who won despite shooting 35.7 percent. The key was forcing 20 turnovers into 20 points.

"Both teams were battling and everything was contested. It was as physical a game as I've been a part of in a long time, but I like how we competed. We didn't back down and kept competing on the defensive end," said Nowitzki, who is averaging 23.1 points in his past 14 games.

Nowitzki did not score (0-for-2) and had one rebound in Sunday's All-Star Game. He played just 8:26 off the bench.

Nowitzki talked about Dallas' recent success and Tuesday's game.

"We competed a lot harder on defense against one of the best teams in the league and we stole one on the road (in Indiana), so that was a good feeling going into the break," Nowitzki said Monday. "But, you know, there's really nothing to rest on or sit on and be happy about. We've got the champs coming in tomorrow and they've been playing well. They won out West a bunch of games I saw, so they're ready to roll."

The Mavs have been rolling, too, with six wins in the last seven tries and will try to extend their home winning streak to four games. They have an 18-8 record in Big D this season and are a half-game ahead of Phoenix and Golden State for the sixth seed in the West.

Dallas is 21-4 this season when holding opponents under 100 points and has an 8-2 record at home against teams from the East.

After hosting the Heat, Dallas will return to the road for three games against Philadelphia, Detroit and New York. Mavs guard Devin Harris (knee/ankle) is questionable versus Miami.

Dallas dropped a 110-104 decision at Miami on Nov. 15, when Nowitzki (28), Vince Carter (21) and Ellis (20) all reached the 20-point mark. James pumped in 39 points on 14-of-18 shooting in that one for the Heat, who defeated the Mavs for a fifth straight time after losing 14 in a row in this series.

The Heat, though, are just 3-10 in the last 13 games in Dallas.

02/18 10:25:32 ET

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