DALLAS – There never be a bigger villain to Mavericks fans than Dwyane Wade.
After all, Wade is the man who destroyed their championship dreams (along with his whistle-blowing buddies) in 2006 and disrespected their hero Dirk Nowitzki more than once over the years. Oh, the revenge of beating the Heat in the 2011 Finals was so sweet.
But that’s all water under the bridge, right? Wade at least made nice after the Heat hammered the Dirk-less Mavs on national TV Thursday night, mixing some praise with a little sympathy when asked for his thoughts on the stripped-down Dallas squad.
“First of all, Dirk is the centerpiece of this team,” Wade said. “That obviously makes it hard. I actually think they’ve been doing pretty damn good without having their main guy here, the guy who really understands what it takes to win here in Dallas. They’ve been staying afloat. They’ve got a lot of new pieces as well.
“You understand that certain teams in the league have to rebuild at a certain time. They unfortunately weren’t able to keep their championship team together and they’re just in a rebuilding stage, but they have good pieces.”
A few more notes from the Mavs’ lopsided loss:
1. O.J.’s off night: O.J. Mayo, who has put up All-Star-caliber numbers, didn’t score in double digits for just the second time this season.
The Heat, who made Mayo the focus of their defensive game plan and trapped him as often as possible, held him to eight points on 3-of-14 shooting.
“I just couldn’t get shots to fall, man,” Mayo said. “They contested well and pretty much got in me and made me take some tough ones. Even the open ones I have didn’t fall, but it’ll be all right. You’re going to have games like that.”
2. Big absences: Missing forward/centers Elton Brand (groin) and Brandan Wright (ankle), the rebounding-challenged Mavs predictably got dominated on the glass, with the Heat grabbing 11 more boards than Dallas.
Coach Rick Carlisle isn’t optimistic about Brand or Wright being able to play Friday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, which might have the NBA’s best power forward-center duo in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.
“I hope one or both of them can get back,” Carlisle said. “We’ll see. I don’t know how likely it is one day later. San Antonio (on Sunday) might be a more likely scenario.”
3. The other James: Rookie center Bernard James, who didn’t play in three of the previous four games, was the one real bright spot for the Mavs during a miserable night.
“Sarge” took advantage of the playing time he got due to the Mavs’ frontcourt MASH unit, scoring 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting, grabbing nine rebounds and blocking three shots in 22 minutes.
“He brings energy,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He brings force. He brings rim protection, he goes and gets the ball and he’s better than people think at finishing around the basket.”