via The Sports Xchange
DALLAS — Mavericks guard Seth Curry scored a game-high 29 points to help Dallas cool off the NBA’s hottest team, the Miami Heat, in a 96-89 victory Monday night at the American Airlines Center.
Curry, the brother of Golden State superstar Steph Curry, is in the midst of a career season in his first year with the Mavs. His under-control drives to the basket and cool outside shooting were too much for Miami, which lost for only the third time in the last 19 games.
Curry, who missed tying his season high by two points, drained an important 3-pointer with 1:52 to go that gave Dallas a 90-89 lead after the Mavs couldn’t hold onto a 10-point cushion deep into the third quarter.
“It’s been very good, very good. He’s really gotten better in all areas,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of the emerging guard. “The scoring is what everybody is noticing, but he’s defending well, too. The playmaking is another part of his game that’s getting better. He didn’t have a confidence problem when he got here, and he still doesn’t.”
Recently added to the starting lineup, Curry buried 5 of 7 shots from 3-point range and was 10 of 17 overall. Mavs forward Harrison Barnes, who finished with 24 points, added a pair of free throws for an 8-0 run after Dallas fell behind 89-84.
“We’re figuring it out. The more we play, the more we figure out spots and defense, whether a defense is switching,” Curry said of finding a rhythm with Barnes. “Him setting screens is big for us. I hope we help a little bit, and I’ll try to find him when he pops and gets open. Like I said, it’s a lot of fun playing with those guys right now.”
The Mavs ultimately finished off Miami with a 12-0 run.
Heat guard Dion Waiters, who had 12 points and was 2 of 5 from beyond the arc, badly missed on a straightaway 3-pointer that would have tied the game with 55 seconds left, and James Johnson missed another opportunity to tie with a 3-ball with 24.3 seconds remaining.
Miami, which failed to reach at least 100 points for the first time in 17 games, shot 44.6 percent overall and was just 9-of-26 from deep.
“We faced a team that’s extremely mentally tough,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We crawled and scratched and clawed to get that five-point lead. “We gave up an easy bucket, and then coming out of the timeout got a delay of game, and we just didn’t get clean looks after that. We’ve shown so much more poise going down the stretch offensively than we did tonight.”
Fresh off a deadline trade for Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel, Dallas continued to add to a suddenly young and athletic core. The Mavs won for the second consecutive game and are 10-5 since Jan. 22. Noel had six points and six rebounds, but had trouble slowing down Heat big man Hassan Whiteside, who went for 19 points and 19 rebounds, including seven offensive boards.
Goran Dragic poured in 24 points with six assists and five rebounds for the Heat.
“It was our defense. I felt like the whole game we didn’t play well on defense,” Dragic said. “It was more like a pick-up game. We didn’t use our main key, that’s try to be more hungry and play defense.”
Dallas guard Wesley Matthews was the only other Mavs player to score in double figures with 10 points, but it included four big free throws down the stretch. Forward Dirk Nowitzki had just eight points, but grabbed 12 rebounds.