The big story of the game came from a Miami defense which stole the ball 19 times, with eight of those coming from Dwyane Wade (17 points, eight assists and five rebounds). Dallas would turn the ball over 24 times, but the hot shooting (50.0 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from three-point range) helped keep the score close until the very end.
The Mavericks went on a 19-4 run early in the third quarter to go up 72-70, but Miami would score 16 points in the final 2:59 of the period to retake the lead.
There was no rhythm to Mario Chalmers' game on this night.
By the 4:13 mark of the third quarter, the Heat point guard had just four points on 2-of-8 shooting. He missed all three of his three-pointers up to that point, including three sloppy turnovers.
A forearm shot to the face of Dirk Nowitzki with 5:01 remaining in the fourth quarter was just the icing on the cake for one rough day at the office for Chalmers. It was later ruled as a flagrant 2 foul, which got him ejected from the game.
With the score as close as it was at the time, all that foul did was hurt the team and his teammates. It was a dumb play at a very inopportune moment.
Final Grade: F
After attempting just one shot (which he made) in the first quarter, it was reasonable to think that Wade was setting himself up for another slow night on the offensive end. He attempted just seven shots in 30 minutes of action during the Heat's 118-95 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on November 12.
In the second quarter, Wade came alive. He hustled for loose balls and put his body on the line, even getting knocked hard to the ground after a drive to the rim. He finished the opening half with a stellar line of 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including five assists, four rebounds and three steals.
Wade would get his fourth steal early in the third quarter, feeding it to LeBron James for the easy slam dunk.
He did miss two clutch free throws with 1:24 remaining to keep the Heat lead at just three points, but that ultimately didn't come back to haunt the team.
By the end of the game, Wade had contributed eight (a career high) of the Heat's 18 steals.
His 17 points were second highest on the team, but his performance will mostly be remembered for how active he was on the defensive end.
Wade is now just the second player in Miami Heat history to steal the ball eight times and dish out eight assists in one game, with Tim Hardaway accomplishing that feat back in 1997.
Final Grade: A +
Since falling in the 2011 NBA Finals, James has been nearly unstoppable in four regular-season games against the Mavericks, averaging a double-double of 28.0 points and 10.0 rebounds.
In the first quarter, James had little to no trouble attacking the basket, scoring 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Jae Crowder of the Mavericks put up a fight, but to no avail.
"The King" scored 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting, but he did have a slight issue with his four turnovers.
No one on the interior gave James much of a hassle as he ran through defenders on a regular basis. The locomotive that is LeBron James just couldn't be stopped once he committed to getting to the rim. In fact, all of his first-half field goals came in the paint.
With the Mavericks going on a major 19-4 run in the third quarter, James took over and pulled his team out of its collective lull, hitting a big three-pointer and a couple of pullup jumpers.
James would score 11 total points in the quarter to give the Heat an 11-point lead.
A step-back jumper at the 2:04 mark of the fourth quarter put Miami back up by three points at 102-99.
This was the eighth game in his career where James has scored 30 or more points against the Dallas Mavericks. His final line of the night was 39 points on 14-of-18 from the field, 10-of-11 from the charity stripe, six rebounds and four assists.
Final Grade: A +
Shane Battier continues to start at power forward for the Miami Heat as Udonis Haslem remains on the sidelines with back spasms.
He had a fairly rough go at defending Dirk Nowitzki in the opening 12 minutes, as the 11-time NBA All-Star dropped 12 points on Miami in the first quarter. LeBron James was later assigned that matchup as a means to halt the progress of the Mavericks' franchise player.
Battier's first bucket would come on a putback layup after a Chris Bosh miss. He also contributed two of the Heat's 10 steals in the first half.
What's considered to be a big no-no on defense, Battier would foul Nowitzki while in the shooting motion from behind the arc, giving him three shots at the free-throw line.
There's really not much else to say about his performance. Battier scored four points and grabbed five rebounds in a little under 24 minutes.
Final Grade: C
The Miami Heat grabbed 20 rebounds in the first half, but none of them came from Chris Bosh, who is averaging a career-low 6.4 boards on the season.
He hit just 2-of-6 from the field, but he did block two shots.
Samuel Dalembert of the Dallas Mavericks had a size and length advantage in the post, so Bosh tried to use his quickness and agility to his benefit as he looked to get the 7'0" center to defend him on the perimeter.
Bosh had 14 points on the night, but eight of those came in the first quarter. He hit key free throws late, but that was really his largest contribution.
He wasn't detrimental to the team, but a majority of the credit for Miami's big win will fall in the hands of Wade, James and the collective team defense.
Bosh? He's had better days.
Final Grade: C +
Against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, Rashard Lewis scored seven points and grabbed three rebounds in 23 minutes of action. He didn't miss a shot the entire game, going 3-of-3 from the field and hitting his only three-point attempt.
There wasn't much of a need for Lewis to become a major factor in this game, but that didn't stop him. He did the little things and made subtle, yet important plays when the Heat needed him to.
His second three-pointer of the game came when the Heat were trying to bounce back from a miserable start to the third quarter. That shot capped off a solid 14-3 run for the team.
Lewis' 11 points are a season high. Shooting 46.2 percent from behind the arc on the season, Lewis would go 3-of-5 against Dallas.
It's just nice to see Lewis contributing. There's a lot left to offer at this stage of his career. Friday night was just further proof that when given a consistent enough role, Lewis can be a tremendous asset.
Final Grade: A -
As expected, Chris "Birdman" Andersen was instant energy and effort off of the bench, immediately becoming a defensive presence under the basket and an absolute pest on the glass. He would grab four rebounds in a little over nine minutes of play in the first half.
He also tipped-in an alley-oop lob from Wade to start the fourth quarter.
Michael Beasley didn't score 19 points in 19 minutes like he did against Milwaukee, but he still produced well in the minutes that he had. He had a questionable offensive foul call go against him early, as it looked like DeJaun Blair was still getting into position.
He had a nice cut to the basket against Vince Carter in the final 12 minutes, as well as a steal and dunk on the fast break in the first half.
Slowly but surely, Beasley is carving himself out a nice role. His minutes may fluctuate upon Ray Allen's return, but at least for now, the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft is making his PT count in a positive way.
Norris Cole hit a timely three-pointer to give Miami a 96-89 lead at roughly the halfway mark of the fourth quarter. He finished with 11 points and three steals.
Final Grade: A -