Rapid Reaction: Heat 119, Mavs 109 (OT)

How it happened: Unlike their first meeting in Dallas on Dec. 20, the Miami Heat had to struggle to pull this one out over the Dallas Mavericks.

There was no 36-point lead for the Heat in the third quarter this time. Instead, the defending NBA champions had to claw out of an early 12-point hole and didn’t wrap it up until going to overtime for the second time in three nights.

LeBron James scored five of his game-high 32 points in overtime, when the Heat scored 10 of the first 12 points. James fell one assist short of another triple-double.

Dwyane Wade added 27 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the winners.

O.J. Mayo, coming off what Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said might have been his best game of the season on Tuesday night at Washington, continued his strong play. He had a team-high 30 points, including four 3-pointers, to make up for an eight-point showing in the first meeting with Miami.

Dirk Nowitzki, playing his sixth game since his return from arthroscopic knee surgery, notched season highs of 29 minutes and 19 points on 7-of-15 floor shooting.

His 3-pointer with 3:30 remaining in regulation put the Mavs up 100-94, but the Heat took a 103-101 lead on Shane Battier’s 3-pointer with 14.5 seconds left. Nowitzki then sent the game into overtime with a fadeaway in the lane with 3.9 seconds to play.

Battier’s second 3-pointer of the night put the Heat up eight midway through the extra period, and James’ three-point play put the game away with 48.6 seconds left.

Vince Carter, coming off a turn-back-the-clock, 23-point performance in Tuesday’s win, shot 5-of-16 from the field and had a costly turnover in overtime.

What it means: This would have been the signature win for the Mavericks so far this season, even better than a home win over the Knicks in November. Instead, the Mavericks fell to 3-14 this season against teams that currently have winning records. Wednesday marked their eighth straight loss against a winning team. Six of those losses have come by 10 points or more.

Play of the game: Wade and James hooked up for one of their patented long-distance alley-oops in the first quarter. Wade’s transition lob pass came from close to half court. James, with three Mavericks watching from close range, caught the ball and stuffed in the reverse jam almost politely.

Stat of the night: The Heat have taken their last four regular-season meetings with the Mavericks since losing to them in the 2010-11 NBA Finals. Before that, the Mavericks won 14 straight regular-season meetings with the Heat.