The NBA's two most recent champions meet when the Dallas Mavericks visit the Miami Heat on Wednesday. When these teams faced off two weeks ago, the Heat cruised to a 110-95 victory.
The fact that Miami has won four straight contests against Dallas might not put fans at ease, but the Heat were just 2-2 on their recent road trip. And if not for a fourth quarter comeback, Miami would have lost its last game against the Orlando Magic. Miami's defense has allowed more than 100 points in three consecutive games, and the team's bench has struggled. In their last five games, the Heat reserves have averaged just 19.2 points per game. Before that, the bench was contributing 29.8 per game.
The Mavericks are not exactly the NBA's hottest team, however. On Tuesday, they snapped a six-game losing streak by beating the Washington Wizards. Dallas has Dirk Nowitzki back from knee surgery, but the eleven-time All-Star is still limited by poor stamina. While he showed progress on Tuesday, Nowitzki is not likely to return to the starting lineup until his conditioning improves.
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET