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5 Things to Watch, Heat-Mavericks: Christmas revenge

Dec 25, 2011, 10:30 AM EDT

GAMES. There will be actual NBA games played today starting at noon. To get you pumped, ready, and primed for the start of the 2011-2012 NBA season, we give you five things to keep an eye on today in Heat-Mavericks.

To get you pumped:

The devil you know is worse than the devil you don’t

The Heat would undeniably take this Mavericks team over the one they faced Tlast spring. No J.J. Barea, no Peja Stojakovkic keeping them honest for stretches, no DeShawn Stevenson d’ing up James and generally being an irritant, and most of all, no Tyson Chandler. The Heat still don’t have a quality center (sorry Eddy Curry, sorry again Joel Anthony), so not having to deal with the seven-foot Chandler roaming the paint is helpful. Lamar Odom will be a handful, no doubt, but they’ll still take that over last year’s combo anytime. The Heat have better odds against a deeper but more piecemeal Mavericks team than the cohesive team that took them down in last year’s Finals.

The Wade Conundrum

Dwyane Wade was a huge barometer for the Heat’s success last year. When he was plugged in and engaged, the Heat were hard to stop, especially for the Mavericks. The Mavericks didn’t retain Caron Butler and only brought in Vince Carter one the wing. Jason Terry lacks the size to guard him, Carter the athleticism and toughness. If the Heat are smart, they’ll gear the offense through Wade almost entirely on Sunday.

The Disengaged One doesn’t sound as good as Chosen One

LeBron James vanished in the fourth quarter during the Finals to most people’s delight. The reality is that the Mavericks sent a brilliant blanket coverage at him, using Shawn Marion to over-pursue on the perimeter, forcing James to drive, then bringing two separate help defenders, forcing James to kick out to someone else who couldn’t shoot from the outside. James has to force the issue on Sunday. The result is fouls, which means weaker lineups for the Mavericks and easy points for James. He needs to not worry about making the right play and make the best play. Or he’s going to have flashbacks of June.

Simple percentages

The Mavericks were in fuego in last year’s Finals, hitting 41 percent from the arc. That number figures to drop as Jason Kidd has to come back to earth a bit (right?), Barea is gone,  along with Stevenson. But Odom has three-point range, as does Carter, and there’s always Dirk. The Heat are a great defensive team, but they may have to sacrifice some inside bucket risks in order to keep hand in the face of the perimeter shooters.

Like a Bosh

You know who actually had a pretty good Finals series? Chris Bosh. Bosh used the attention drawn by the Heat’s drivers to get his pick and pop on, and wound up averaging more points than LeBron. He actually neutralized Jason Terry’s impact, if you choose to think of it that way. Bosh is in his hometown, with a crowd that doesn’t like him. He was tagged as being soft and inferior last season. He can set the tone for this year with a strong performance Sunday.

  1. tampajoey - Dec 25, 2011 at 10:50 AM

    Let’s start the new NBA season off with a Heat loss to set up another disappointing season for the over-hyped Miami Heat and the Vanishing King.

    Go every team except Miami

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 25, 2011 at 4:14 PM

      Rodge1 is OWNING you.

      • tampajoey - Dec 25, 2011 at 5:13 PM

        Look who decides to show up to the message board to make a comment ONLY AFTER the Heat are up by 20… another bandwagon Miami Heat fan.

      • edweird0 - Dec 26, 2011 at 12:13 PM

        LOL tampajoey, everyone KNEW the Heat were gunna win, we just didn’t assume it would have been this bad.

  2. ss3walkman - Dec 25, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    Dallas lost a lot this off season. You’ll see how much Chandler meant to this team. Miami will win this game.

    • jollyjoker2 - Dec 25, 2011 at 12:17 PM

      I think lamar odom will cover that. Actually, I think losing some of the guard speed will hurt them harder.

  3. ragonzalez79 - Dec 25, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    Love the hate but over hyped yeah don’t think so

  4. miamatt - Dec 25, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    Ahh, how fun it will be to listen to all the Heat Haters cry after today’s ass-whupin’.

    The Mavericks had an incredible run and are a deserving champion.

    But last year’s finals will prove to be the last, best moment for all who spit on Miami. Get ready for three huge lumps of coal in your collective stockings!

  5. jkb0162 - Dec 25, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    With all the hype you would think the Heat did win it all last year. The Mavs still have Dirk and Terry right? Don’t get distracted by the loss of a few role players. The Mavs will be fine.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 25, 2011 at 4:26 PM

      Yeah, they look really good.

  6. rodge1 - Dec 25, 2011 at 1:38 PM


    Lol!!!…. You are worse than a scorned-psycho-ex-girlfriend. Let it go sweety, your team will always suck

    • tampajoey - Dec 25, 2011 at 2:27 PM

      Isn’t that Heat bandwagon getting a little full of all you fair weather frontrunner fans? I remember just a couple years ago when American Airlines Arena was empty and they couldn’t give away Heat tickets.

      The Kingdom of Heat is ruled by a Vanishing King suitable for a kingdom of vanishing fans.

      Who are all you Miami Heat fans pulling for in baseball this season? I hear the NY Yankees and Phillies are suppose to be good… are you going to go jump on that bandwagon too?

      Heat fans are a joke! Real NBA fans are laughing in your face!

  7. rodge1 - Dec 25, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    @ tampajoey:

    Actually, real NBA fans are laughing at crybabies like you. For your info, been a Heat fan since they started. Yes, with players like Alec Kessler and Jon Sunvold on the team. How am I a front runner? And I’m a Marlin’s fan, and a Dolphin’s fan, and a Hurricane’s fan. How am I a front runner?… Get over it, your city sucks and your team sucks.

    • tampajoey - Dec 25, 2011 at 3:33 PM

      Can’t argue with you. Since you are obviously a fan of Lebron you’re the expert on crybabies.

  8. rodge1 - Dec 25, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    You were a fan of LeBron too until he came to sunny Miami. Hence my comment from before. You’re a scorned-psycho-ex-girlfriend. Be patient sweety, he’ll call you back someday

    • tampajoey - Dec 25, 2011 at 4:01 PM

      SadlyI doubt Lebron will ever call me back, since he enjoys the way you suck his C0CK

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 25, 2011 at 4:45 PM

        Lebron is finishing on Dallas’ face today

  9. rodge1 - Dec 25, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    That can’t be true, I’m a proud lesbian. But you, you’re definitely a scorned ex. Guess that explains why you’re talking about LeBron’s privates. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of fish in the sea.

  10. lameasish - Dec 25, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    I have to agree, rodge owned you. You just sound bitter.

  11. tampajoey - Dec 25, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    Look at the Heat fans coming to make comments only AFTER the Heat are up by 20 points. What a bunch of bandwagon frontrunners! No wonder Lebron went to Miami, all the fruits down there to suck his dick.

    Hey 1972, wipe the Lebron love juice off your chin.

    • edweird0 - Dec 26, 2011 at 12:18 PM

      Lol dude you’re so pathetic. You might as well not watch this season if you’re just gunna act like a bitter old hag who got stood up at the altar.

      P.S. Ima be on here every chance I get before every game just to make sure I remind you of how dominant the Heat will be. & then I’ll come back afterwards to put you in check when you wanna run your mouth off.

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