The Mavericks play the final game of a four-game home stand against the Miami Heat. The Mavs have won six straight against Miami and 12 of their last 14 (if you don't include the playoffs...and let's not). After tonight, the Mavs play 9 of their next 28 games on the road, but that isn't near as brutal as what the Heat have endured so far because...
Miami ain't so hot
No, they aren't just run-of-the-mill bad, they're the worst team in the Eastern Conference so far. That means they have a worse record than the Knicks, which is really saying something. Their 8-24 record is also worse than all but one West team. They have lost five in a row and nine of their last 11. They are bottom five in the league in three-pointers made and attempted, offensive rebounds, field goal attempts and are 29th in free-throw percentage and 30th in rebounding. Many never thought they'd never see one of Shaq's teams place dead last in the league in rebounding, which brings me to the next point...
Not much Diesel left in the tank
It's no secret that Shaquille O'Neal has aged dramatically over the last two years, and his current injury shouldn't come as any surprise. He sat out 42 games last season, and a similar fate was bound to come soon this season. He's averaging career lows in points, rebounds, assists, shot attempts and minutes. On the bright side, he's shooting his best free-throw percentage in four seasons (but is 49.1 percent anything to brag about?). Unfortunately, we don't get to see Erick Dampier outplay him, so instead we'll have to settle for him outplaying Mark Blount. Alonzo Mourning is also out with a season-ending knee surgery.
The bright spots
After missing the first seven games of the season, Dwyane Wade has returned to form, and is the main reason the Heat have at least those eight wins. He had one of those amazingly fun-to-watch 23 free-throw attempt nights one week ago, so the Mavs might want to be careful with their breathing and phantom hand-checking tonight. Additionally, Udonis Haslem has stepped up for the lack of Miami center support and is having a career year. He's averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and free-throw percentage and is one of the few bright spots for the Heat outside of Wade.
- That Dorell Wright sure can jump.
- Despite your feelings about D-Wade, this is a great commercial.
- Maybe Shaq should have done more wind sprints than Whoppers.
Random useless fact
Udonis Haslem has said he would eventually like to be the mayor of Miami...and lists his favorite movie as Scarface. Hmmmm.
-Scooter Hendon, Hoops Nerd