Statistically speaking, the Miami Heat put on a performance Friday night that was akin to what you might see in a game like NBA Jam.
The Heat’s 14 dunks are the most they’ve had in any game in the past five seasons. All but one were by either Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh. That was the most dunks the Heat have had in any game this season by a wide margin. Their next-most was 10 against the New York Knicks on January 27.
Those dunks in turn led to a season-high 64 points in the paint, including their first 18 of the game. The Heat’s Big Three was 23-for-32 from inside five feet.
Wade, James, and Bosh each made 11 field goals and shot over 60 percent from the field. Elias notes that the last trio to each shoot better than 60 percent AND make at least 11 shots from the field was Al Jefferson, Paul Pierce, and Tony Allen for the Boston Celtics in the 2006-07 season.
Elsewhere around the league the Dallas Mavericks entered its game against the Orlando Magic having won five straight road meetings. The longest current winning streak any team had against the Magic in Orlando.
Dwight Howard did his part to stop the streak with 19 points and 15 rebounds, marking his 42nd double-double this season (second-most in the NBA).
The Mavericks trailed most of the game even by as many as seven points entering the fourth quarter. However their defense forced the Magic into poor shooting and turnovers in the final period, which ultimately spelled doom for Orlando. The Magic shot just 35 percent from the field while turning it over six times.
The Mavericks took advantage of those mistakes, scoring nine points off of turnovers in the fourth quarter.
The final blow to the Magic was Dirk Nowitzki hitting the game-winning jumper with 5.9 seconds left.
Elias says it was the 11th time in his NBA career that Nowitzki made a game-winning basket in the final 10 seconds of a game, and the second time this season. Seven of Nowitzki’s 11 such hoops came on the road, including each of the last three.
The Mavericks are now 75-31 (.708) against Eastern Conference teams since Rick Carlisle took over as the team’s head coach in 2008. That is the highest inter-conference winning percentage for any team in the league over that span.
Number of the Night
The Celtics took over first place in the Atlantic Division with a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves and loss by the Philadelphia 76ers to the Washington Wizards. The 76ers had a share of first place for 93 straight days.
They entered first place on December 28, and held at least a share every day until Friday night.
Statistical support for this story from NBA.com.