Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/3/13
MIAMI -- The pass to an open teammate -- such a simple concept -- can be a controversial thing when you are the consensus best basketball player on the planet. If his teammate makes the open shot, LeBron James is a genius. If he misses, James is scorned by those who believe the best player should take the big shot every time, even if double-teamed. Wednesday night, James’ pass to Shane Battier with 15 seconds left in regulation worked, helping the Miami Heat beat the Dallas Mavericks, 119-109, in overtime. What made the play remarkable was that Battier was scoreless at the time, missing all three of his previous three-point tries. "I channeled my Buddhist teachings from college," Battier said. "I was completely detached. I was so (ticked) from missing shots. Finally, I said: 'I don’t care. I’m just going to shoot it.' "Sometimes, that’s what you have to do." James finished with 32 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. He has scored at least 20 points in all 30 games this season, the most 20-plus-point games by an NBA player to begin the season since George Gervin went 45 games in 1981-82. Dwyane Wade added 27 points, 10 rebounds and five assists as the Heat improved to 22-8, the best record in the Eastern Conference. And while the Heat stands just one game over .500 on the road, they are dominant at home (15-2). The Mavericks (13-20) have lost seven of their past eight games. Guard O.J. Mayo led the Mavs with 30 points and six assists. Mayo was big down the stretch, scoring 12 of his points after the third quarter. It was his fourth game of the season with 30 or more points. All-star Dirk Nowitzki played his sixth game of the season -- all of them off the bench -- and scored a season-high 19 points. He missed the first 27 games this season after knee surgery and has yet to return to his previous form, although his performance against Miami was a positive sign. “Dirk’s doing better every game,” Mavs Coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s progressing, and that’s a promising situation.” Nowitzki hit a 3-pointer with 3:44 left in regulation to give the Mavs a 100-94 lead. But the Heat rallied to take a 103-101 lead on Battier’s three-pointer. “What I liked about that play,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, “is that we were missing so many wide-open threes in the first three quarters, but we still found the trust to hit Shane.” That set up a fall-away jumper in the lane by Nowitzki, which tied the score with three seconds left. When James missed a jumper at the buzzer, overtime was required. The Heat cruised from there, which left the Mavs 0-6 in OT this season. “It shouldn’t have gone to overtime,” Carlisle said. “We were up six with a couple of minutes left, and our inability to keep them out of the lane was our downfall.” Nowitzki said the Mavs need more time to become a cohesive unit. “The last couple of years, we knew each other so well,” Nowitzki said. “We had J-Kidd (Jason Kidd, now with the Knicks), who was one of the smartest out there. “We blew a couple of (defensive) coverages. LeBron gets to the basket twice. D-Wade gets to the basket once. It was just too easy for them.” Wade made 8 of 9 on the foul line. That's noteworthy because he was coming off a game in which he made just 2 of 10 foul shots against Orlando. It was a rare slump at the line for a career 77 percent shooter. In that game, Miami also allowed Magic center Nikola Vucevic to grab 29 rebounds, the most ever by a Heat opponent. On Wednesday, the Heat did a better job on the boards, losing the battle by only one, 47-46. The Heat also made 10 of 26 3-point attempts against the Mavs. For the season, the Heat ranks second in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage (39.9). Only nine teams have shot over 40 percent on 3-pointers for an entire season. The record is held by Charlotte, which shot 42.8 percent in 1996-1997. NOTES: James was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month for December, when he averaged 27.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.5 assists. Also Wednesday, he was named the USA Basketball Player of the Year, his first such honor. The award has been around since 1980, and only Michael Jordan and Alonzo Mourning have won it twice. ... Forward Brandan Wright, the Mavs' eighth-leading scorer (8.0 points per game), sat out Wednesday due to a leg injury. ... For the season, the Heat is next to last in the league in rebounds and 22nd in rebound differential (minus-2.2). The last team to be outrebounded in a season and still win an NBA title was the Houston Rockets in 1995. "We've proven we can rebound," Spoelstra said, "but we have to be a group-rebounding team. When one guy takes a mini-vacation, it hurts us." ... Only two Mavericks remain with the team that beat the Heat for the NBA title in 2011 -- 34-year-olds Nowitzki and Shawn Marion. ... Next up for the Heat are home games Friday (Chicago Bulls) and Sunday (Washington Wizards) before Miami starts a six-game road trip. ... The Mavs are off for a couple of days before playing host to New Orleans on Saturday.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Kevin Durant has...RUSSELL MANIA!
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Wentz unlikely to see any playing time this season

Minnesota Wild names Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ official goal song

Gabby Douglas joining judges for Miss America pageant

Recruit decommits from Michigan after mail mistake

Dez Bryant reportedly suffers concussion at practice

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Kobe Bryant to be honored with his own day in LA on 8/24

Colts sign Antonio Cromartie

Connor McDavid: 'I’m not some 18-year-old kid anymore'

Aguayo seeks out mental coach after missing kicks

Josh Norman unloads on Goodell: He is 'straight horrible'

Siemian named Broncos starter for third preseason game

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

Washington's Josh Norman speaks candidly about multiple NFL talking points

Derrick Rose: Knicks have chance to win every game

Ranking the MLB divisional races

Inside the Pokemon World Championships, where masters are born

NFL players under most pressure in preseason Week 3

Tre Mason's mother: RB is like '10-year-old' due to head injuries

What we learned from this year's baffling SummerSlam event

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

QUIZ: Name every player to win a championship with Kobe Bryant

Inside the Pokemon World Championships, where masters are born

What we learned from this year's baffling SummerSlam event

Football Down Under: Looking back at college football overseas

31 memories from the XXXI Olympiad

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker