DALLAS -- A forgettable game like Sunday's regular-season opener was bound to happen for the Dallas Mavericks.
For starters, the Mavs had an emotional pregame ceremony, where they raised their first NBA championship banner into the American Airlines Center rafters in front of an adoring crowd of 20,421. Shortly thereafter, the Mavs had to deal with an angry Miami Heat squad, which they spanked in six games to capture last season's NBA title.
In the end, the opener wasn't pretty as the Heat spoiled Christmas and the banner-raising by hustling out of town with a convincing 105-94 win over the Mavs. And it wasn't even that close.
The Heat led by as much as 35 -- 78-43 with 8:24 left in the third period -- and coasted to the finish line against the defenseless Mavs.
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"They were a better team, that's pretty obvious," coach Rick Carlisle said. "We've got a lot of work to do, and every day we're going to have to make some gradual strides.
"We had some stretches where we got some traction, but the consistency is not there. We've got to keep studying and keep working on it."
LeBron James (37 points, 10 rebounds, six assists) and Dwyane Wade (26 points, eight rebounds, six assists) controlled the game and made sure the Heat would snap its 14-game regular-season losing streak to the Mavs. Miami's dynamic duo attacked the basket at will, got easy transition buckets and thoroughly dominated the game.
"We just weren't sharp in any category," said Dirk Nowitzki, who was 6 of 15 from the floor and finished with 21 points. "You can't win a game like that, especially against a hungry, athletic and great team with great players."
Only a 29-8 rally in the fourth quarter by the Mavs made the final score respectable.
The loss of center Tyson Chandler to free agency was apparent right away as Miami outscored the Mavs in the paint 18-0 in a first period that ended with the Heat nursing a 32-17 lead. Brendan Haywood, who stepped into the starting center role vacated by Chandler, was scoreless and had three rebounds, four fouls and two turnovers in 14 minutes, although Carlisle noted his activity was good.
"I think it's important to point this out and to be very clear about it -- Brendan Haywood is not Tyson Chandler," Carlisle said. "He's a different kind of player. You're not going to see the same kinds of things out there as you did with Tyson."
Haywood said it was just one of those subpar days at the office.
"Anything basketball-wise we didn't do it as well as we needed to do tonight," Haywood said. "I think this is basically what happens when you have such a short training camp, and a short amount of time for a bunch of new guys to try to learn how to play together."
Miami led 62-41 at the half and 97-65 after three quarters against the Mavs, who host Denver at 7:30 tonight.
The Mavs lost forward Lamar Odom midway through the third quarter after he received a pair of quick technicals for mouthing at the officials. Odom collected four fouls and four points on 1-of-6 shooting in only 13 minutes, while starting guard Vince Carter produced just five points in 21 minutes.
"Chemistry is not something that happens overnight, it's something that has to be bonded," said Jason Terry, who had 23 points. "And with these games coming fast and furious we're going to have to get together real quick."
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760