The fans in Dallas will never forget the 2006 NBA Finals, nor will the players on that squad as the Mavs have won 9 straight regular season games. Since the finals the Heat has struggled to find their identity, automatically fading into a rebuilding mode, while the Mavs tried to keep their core together as long as they could. After 2 straight playoff collapses, that started against the Heat, the Mavs attempted to inject some veteran leadership into their squad by adding Jason Kidd. However, this move did not work as planned and the Mavs now look farther away from a championship than they have in ages.
This years Mavs team looks like a lock now for the 8th seed in the West, with the Suns fading fast, yet they have no shot getting past the first round. Their squad is still led by Dirk Nowitzki, a perenial All-NBA forward, who is 2 years removed from winning the NBA MVP award. He is a matchup nightmare for most squads with his inside outside game, but Udonis Haslem is one of the players who has a history of playing well against him. Haslem is physical enough to keep Dirk from getting comfortable at the high post, while being quick enough to keep him in front of him while he tries to put the ball on the floor. This is an important matchup in this game.
The other major matchup in the game will be in the backcourt. Everyone knows that Dwayne Wade's eyes light up when he takes on the Mavs, but how will Mario Chalmers deal with Jason Kidd? Kidd has slowed down over the years, but he is still a savvy veteran. Will this be the difference or will Chalmers be able to take advantage of his quickness? Kidd has been burned by quick guards all season long, so I expect Coach Spoelstra to have Chalmers to attack Kidd all game. When Chalmers is aggressive he provides Wade with the perfect complement, cause he does not have to carry the load all on his own.
With the Heat struggling over their last 5 games, this win is crucial to keep from having to play the Orlando Magic in the first round of the playoffs. Wade and the squad know this, and will play accordingly.