DALLAS -- That the Miami Heat puts opponents in a pickle by forcing turnover after turnover after turnover is no news to Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki.
"We knew that since 2011 that turnovers against them is a dunk on the other end,'' Nowitzki said. "They're so fast.''
Indeed, once the Mavs committed a turnover Tuesday night, LeBron James and the Heat went into track meet-mode and turned it into easy opportunity baskets. In all, Miami turned 16 Mavs turnovers into 24 points en route to claiming a 117-106 victory over Dallas at American Airlines Center behind a season-high 42 points from James.
"LeBron has another gear and I felt like they had some good active hands, and we knew that coming in that we had to be careful,'' Nowitzki said. "We made some bad decisions here and there.''
The Mavs (32-23) were nursing a 95-92 lead with 7:47 left following a 4-point play by Vince Carter. From there, the Mavs went turnover happy and James made them pay.
After a Shawn Marion turnover, James drilled a 3-pointer. After a Carter turnover, James drilled another 3-pointer.
Another Mavs turnover led to a fastbreak dunk by James. A pair of free throws by James and a Chris Andersen dunk capped a brisk 14-0 run by Miami and put the Heat up 106-95 with 3:20 to go and sealed the victory for the two-time defending NBA champions.
It also left the Mavs -- they outrebounded Miami 50-28 -- wondering whether it's going to take a near-perfect game to defeat the Heat.
"I like that we competed, I think we played hard and we gave ourselves a chance,'' said Nowitzki, who had 22 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. "Just down the stretch it wasn't good enough.
"LeBron kept making plays and they stepped up their defense a little bit, and we couldn't score there any more the last four or five minutes. I guess that separates a great team from a good team.''
-- Dwain Price
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