8:00 PM ET, November 11, 2004
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images
With the greatest of ease, Nowitzki dropped 41 points on host Miami.
The logic couldn't be faulted Thursday, when Nowitzki helped hand what was the NBA's last unbeaten team its first loss of the season.
Nowitzki had 41 points, two off his career high, and Marquis Daniels added 22 in Dallas' 113-93 win over Miami that ended the Heat's franchise-record 14-game home win streak.
"We had a great night," Nowitzki said. "Everybody was shooting well, and it didn't matter from where they shot it. We did a lot of things right. We shot the ball well, we drove to the basket and got to the foul line."
Nowitzki shot 12-of-24 from the floor, 4-for-7 from 3-point range, 13-for-13 from the line and added 10 rebounds for Dallas (5-1).
"I'm wondering how he missed those 12 shots. ... He was really on," said Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who watched from behind the Dallas bench.
O'Neal had 22 points -- giving him 22,002 for his career -- and 10 rebounds for the Heat (4-1). Dwyane Wade added 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists before spraining his left ankle with 7:07 left. X-rays were negative, and Wade said he believed the injury was minor.
"We had a lot of defensive lapses and they shot the ball well," O'Neal said. "Most of the shots in the first half were wide-open jumpers. ... We got into a hole, and I felt we had a couple opportunities to get out of the hole but they shot the ball well. Dirk had a hell of a game. He's a great player."
Miami, which won its first four games by an average of 12.8 points, never led. The Heat allowed 71 points in the first half, were hit with four technicals by halftime and let Dallas shoot 52 percent for the game.
"Our players were talking about everything except defense," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. "That was the problem in my mind. That's where the lack of composure was, focusing in and saying 'this is the problem right here, 71 points.' That never really got through to us."
Dallas led by 14 at halftime, then opened the third quarter with an 18-4 burst to push its lead to 89-63 against a team that trailed by 4 minutes, 44 seconds in its first four games. Miami got within 95-82 after three, but never got closer.
Dallas shot only 29.2 percent two nights earlier in Orlando, but the Mavericks came out firing against Miami -- which held its first four opponents to 41 percent shooting. Dallas made 11 of its first 15 shots, while Miami missed 10 of its first 13.
"It's fun when you have success going in with a game plan," said Mavs guard Jerry Stackhouse, who scored 12. "When you execute the game plan, you achieve great results."
A 13-0 Mavericks' run -- highlighted by a 28-foot, shot-clock-beating 3-pointer by Nowitzki -- gave Dallas a 25-8 lead with 4:18 left in the opening quarter.
Miami chipped away, and drew within 50-42 on Damon Jones' 3-pointer with 5:52 left in the half. But Dallas scored on its next three possessions and never let the Heat get within 10 points again.
Nelson -- the inventor of the "hack-a-Shaq" scheme -- ordered it used on three trips in the second quarter, hoping it'd disrupt Miami's offense.
It worked; O'Neal, a challenged foul shooter, made three of the six free throws earned by being fouled near midcourt by Alan Henderson and Calvin Booth, Miami's momentum slowed down the stretch and the Heat trailed 71-57 at halftime.
"It's not annoying because in the long run over my career he has never beat me," O'Neal said. "And he will never beat me."
"It's the first time we've experienced some adversity," Butler said. "As long as we learn from this, we'll be fine."
Nowitzki's 11 free throws were the most an opponent ever managed against Miami in a first half. ... O'Neal became the 20th player to score 22,000 regular-season points. ... Daniels has 53 points in two games at Miami. ... Dallas reserve C D.J. Mbenga was whistled for three fouls in a 52-second span of the second quarter. ... Heat G Eddie Jones shot 1-for-11 and is now connecting on 36.2 percent of his tries this season. ... About 100 people commemorated Veterans' Day by participating in an U.S. Army enlistment ceremony at halftime. ... Tennis players Boris Becker and Anna Kournikova were in the crowd. ... No team has scored 100 points on Dallas this year.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||41-79 (.519)||32-86 (.372)|
|3PM-3PA||10-17 (.588)||6-19 (.316)|
|FTM-FTA||21-26 (.808)||23-33 (.697)|
|Fast Break Points||3||6|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||28 (1/0)||22 (4/0)|