MIAMI - The Miami Heat shrugged off back-to-back road defeats on Thursday to post a decisive 106-85 victory against the Dallas Mavericks, the team that beat them in last season's NBA championship series.
The Heat, with their star trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh leading a balanced attack, surged to a 13-point lead in the third quarter, adding another victory over the Mavericks to the win they posted in Dallas when the lockout-shortened season opened on Christmas Day.
Not only was it a satisfying win over the team that denied them the NBA crown last season, it helped erase the taste of road defeats to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Indian Pacers.
Those losses marked Miami's first back-to-back double-digit losses since James, Wade and Bosh became Heat teammates in July of 2010.
Bosh and James scored 19 each and Wade added 16.
"It was a collective response to how we've been playing," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
Dirk Nowitzki kept the Mavericks in it with 16 points in the first half on 8-of-10 shooting. The Mavericks' German star finished with 25, his output dropping off in the second half as the Mavericks struggled to score.
Dallas missed 14 of their first 16 shot attempts of the fourth quarter. The Heat ended the game on a 16-2 scoring run to reach a somewhat deceptively lopsided score.
"They stepped up their pressure at both ends of the floor," Nowitzki said. "In the first half, everything came a little too easy for us. You got to give them credit. They had us going both ways all night. D-Wade and LeBron were getting theirs. And everybody else was getting theirs, too. Defensively, we just weren't sharp enough."
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle added: "We had trouble getting the ball in the basket.
"That was one thing that hurt us. Second-chance points hurt us. And then they hit a flurry of transition points at an inopportune time for us. Tough loss."
© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse