The game wasn't even as close as the 11-point deficit would suggest. The Mavericks were down by over 30 for portions of the game and only made the score look respectable after going on a little run at the end of the fourth quarter in garbage time.
I actually expected the Mavericks to lose this game, but I didn't expect them to channel their inner Lakers and look disinterested out there.
For the Mavericks and their fans, this is just the first bump on the road to a title defense. It should be fun to see how they grow over the course of the season.
Here are five things to take away from the opening day loss...
It hasn't really been described this way, but the Mavericks went through a roster overhaul this offseason. They lost key pieces in Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea, Caron Butler and Peja Stojakovic. Replacing them are Vince Carter, Lamar Odom and Delonte West. That much movement would definitely shake up any team's rotation.
They would have needed time to gel even if this season hadn't been shortened by a lockout. Training camp was only a couple weeks long and the team only played two preseason games. It could be another two or three weeks before everyone is on the same page.
Combined, Carter and Odom went 3-12 from the field for nine points. Their production (certainly Odom's) will improve. Delonte West showed pretty much what I expect out of him all year. He scored 10 points and had three assists and three rebounds.
On several possessions in this game, the Miami Heat got all the way to the rim at will. Granted, Miami will do that to pretty much every team they face this year, but the defending champs need someone to protect the goal.
Tyson Chandler prided himself on performing that role. Someone else has to fill his shoes. Brendan Haywood isn't as mobile or athletic, but he's still very long and plays with a little toughness. Hopefully his desire to be a leader on defense, as well as his minutes, will increase over the course of the year.
This is somewhat related to the first slide. Like I said, that short training camp just wasn't enough time to get everything in place and everyone in shape. A lot of players on this team are past their physical primes and getting into regular season shape takes a little more time.
The Mavericks were destroyed on the glass yesterday. Miami won the rebounding battle 51-31. It's almost impossible to win a game when you're outrebounded by 20.
Losing Chandler doesn't help here. He was the team's leading rebounder last season and someone has to pick up the slack in his absence. Dirk Nowitzki may have to be that guy. He's a seven-footer who's averaged over nine boards a game five times in his career, but his production in that department has dropped off over the last couple seasons because the team has brought in other rebounders.
For Dallas to be more competitive on the boards, Nowitzki will have to work a little harder inside.
Like I've said a couple times in this slideshow, the Mavericks just need some time. They underwent big roster shake ups and are basically coming into the season cold because of the lockout.
Rick Carlisle is one of the best coaches in the league and veterans like Dirk, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion and Lamar Odom are all proven winners. They'll get things together and start winning consistently a few weeks from now.