The Dallas Mavericks played as if they were collectively begging for Dirk Nowitzki to return to game action against the Miami Heat Thursday night.
They were completely dominated by the Heat in every phase of the game. Dallas trailed by as many as 36 points in the third quarter before closing out the period down 30.
The 24 points LeBron James had scored by then were more than Mavericks starters Chris Kaman, Shawn Marion and Darren Collison combined through three quarters. James earned himself a rest for the entire fourth quarter as a result and the Heat cruised to their third straight win.
Miami moves to 17-6 with the 110-95 win in Dallas. They are now only one game behind the New York Knicks for first place in the Eastern Conference.
The Mavericks, meanwhile, fall to 12-14 after losing their fourth home game of the season.