Sunday, March 16, 2008

Heat turned off in blowout

MIAMI – The previous four were decided long before the fourth quarter started. The Mavericks locked up No. 5 before four minutes were up.

Showing no mercy against the latest in a string of Eastern Conference flyweights, the Mavs rolled through the depleted Heat 98-73 before a sparse Sunday gathering at AmericanAirlines Arena. The five-game winning streak is tied for the second-longest this season.

The Mavs (44-23) haven’t trailed at any point since losing to Houston (March 6) and raced out to a 25-point lead over the Heat in the first quarter. The quick start has been awfully familiar lately. The average margin of victory is 23.6 – no game closer than 19 – during this stretch against East teams with losing records.

The domination has been so complete that the Mavs have only been tied for three minutes and 52 seconds out of a possible 240 minutes. Take out the 0-0 tie at the start of each game and it drops down to 2:15. Though the outcomes haven’t been in doubt, Avery Johnson has learned plenty about his team during the routs.

“This particular team is much tougher mentally, they play much looser and it’s a higher basketball IQ,” he said. “I don’t know where that’s going to take us, but those are good qualities to have.”

Qualities that will be put to the test against the Big Boys lining the road for the upcoming week. The next three games are the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston and San Antonio in order at American Airlines Center.

“This is a chance to see where we’re at and start something new,” Jason Kidd said.

The Mavs lost the last meeting to each of those teams.

“We feel like we were right there when we played those teams on the road,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “We lost down the stretch to the Spurs where I could have tied the game twice. We lost in overtime to LA, so hopefully at home we’re going to be more comfortable down the stretch.

“Confidence is higher now with Jason and everybody more adjusted to each other. We feel like at home we should be ready.”

Read the rest of this game story at

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