Five years ago, after the Miami Heat won its first championship by upsetting the Dallas Mavericks in six games, they opened the 2006-07 season with a 42-point loss to the Chicago Bulls.
The Heat went on to be eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, and the following season won just 15 games.
Sunday, the Mavericks got a taste of the same. They were throttled 105-94 by the Heat, who once led by 35 points.The Mavericks, who celebrated pregame by raising their 2010-11 NBA championship banner, had beaten the Heat in six games to win that NBA Finals in June. It was the first title of Dallas' 31-year history.
But it soon became a distant memory. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade made it so, combining for 63 points, 18 rebounds and 12 assists.
With four new players on the roster — and two new starters — the Mavericks were out of sync after a compressed training camp heading into this 66-game season. They never seriously were in contention to win.
It was a tough game even for Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki, who had with 21 points but shot 6-for-15 from the field.
Vince Carter, acquired as a free agent, took the first shot for the Mavericks — and it was an airball. He started but played just eight minutes in the first half because of three fouls. He finished with five points on 2-for-6 shooting.
The Heat were quicker all around and were able to get to the rim at will, not having to contend with 7-1 center Tyson Chandler, who left the Mavericks as a free agent for the New York Knicks.
Brendan Haywood, who played behind Chandler last season, started but proved ineffective in 14 minutes. He went scoreless, missing both shot attempts and had more fouls (four) than rebounds (three).
Although the Mavericks never ran their offense through Chandler, he was better at stepping out on the pick-and-rolls to limit the penetration of James and Wade.
This time, the Heat were able to score at will in the paint as well as generating 15 offensive rebounds to Dallas' eight. The Heat shot 48.7% from the field (38-for-78) and outrebounded the Mavericks 51-31.
James finished with a game-high 37 points on 11-for-19 shooting. He got to the free throw line 13 times in the first half alone. Wade added 26 points on 11-for-21 shooting
Miami led 62-41 at the half and came out strong in the third with a 16-4 run to squash any hopes Dallas had of turning the tide.
Lamar Odom, acquired in a trade by Dallas from the Los Angeles Lakers, received a loud ovation when he entered with 5:38 left in the first quarter. He quickly gave the Mavericks a jolt by hitting a three-pointer to tie the score at 11. That was the last time they wouldn't trail.
But Odom was ejected with 5:06 remaining in the third quarter after receiving two technical fouls objecting to a foul call, with Dallas trailing 82-54. He finished with four points on 1-for-6 shooting, four rebounds and four fouls.
In Odom's last game to end the 2010-11 season with the Lakers, who were swept in the Western Conference semifinals by Dallas, he was ejected in this building, too.
No Dallas starter played more than 30 minutes. Jason Terry came off the bench to lead all Dallas scorers with 23 points on 9-for-18 shooting. Reserves cut into the deficit in the fourth quarter.
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