MIAMI -- Six times the Dallas Mavericks have found themselves staring down the barrel of an overtime situation this season, and six times they failed to make the plays that would have produced a victory.
It happened again Wednesday night at sold-out AmericanAirlines Arena as the Miami Heat turned on their physical switch down the stretch and disposed of the Mavs 119-109 in overtime. The loss was the 10th in the past 12 games for the Mavs, who went 1-1 on this brief road trip after winning Tuesday in Washington.
The Mavs are 13-20 on the season and will host New Orleans on Saturday before hitting the road again Sunday for games in Utah, Los Angeles (Clippers) and Sacramento.
Wednesday's loss hurt the Mavs in the gut. They led for the majority of the game and still led by three points with less than 50 seconds left in regulation. But the Heat got a turnover after Dwyane Wade knocked down Dirk Nowitzki near the 3-point line -- no call was made -- and Ray Allen converted a layup to cut the Mavs' lead to 101-100.
"There was a collision, I haven't seen the replay of it, so I don't know exactly what happened,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "You're asking if it was a missed call?
"It could have been. Without looking at it, I'm not going to speculate and I'm not in the money-spending mood right now.''
Shane Battier drilled a 3-pointer in front of the Mavs' bench to put the Heat ahead 103-101 with 14.5 seconds remaining. Then the old trusted warrior Nowitzki sent the game into overtime at 103-all when he took a pass from Darren Collison and popped in a elbow jumper with 3.9 seconds to go.
The Heat, however, dominated the overtime session as the Mavs appeared to run out of gas.
Allen opened overtime with a 3-pointer, LeBron James (32 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists) banked in a shot, and Wade stole a Vince Carter pass and strolled in for a dunk and a 110-103 Heat lead less than two minutes into overtime.
The Mavs, who have lost nine consecutive overtime games dating to last season, never got closer than five points thereafter.
"I think execution down the stretch has been one of our problems all year,'' said Nowitzki, who scored a season-high 19 points in a season-high 29 minutes. "We've got to work on that.
"It's a game of inches and if you make a couple of mistakes down the stretch, a veteran team and a good team like that will make you pay.''
O.J. Mayo led the Mavs with 30 points and six assists. But he also had six turnovers.
"Tonight there were three or four situations where he tried to squeeze the ball in and it didn't quite work out, but he was aggressive,'' Carlisle said. "He's going to be aggressive and he's going to score.
"But I think the important thing for him is to realize that we don't need him just to be a scorer, we need him to be an all-around basketball player.
The Mavs led 30-18 late in the first period following a 10-0 run. But the Heat chopped away at the deficit, closing to within 52-50 at the half.
Miami didn't take its first lead of the game until Chris Bosh's basket made it 54-52 early in the third period. Then it was nip-and-tuck, with the Mavs leading 97-91 with 4:09 left in regulation.
"We had them pretty much throughout the whole game,'' said Collison, who finished with 11 points. "We came out with good energy.
"It's always going to come down to the last two minutes, and we let some plays get away from us.''
"It shouldn't have got to overtime,'' Carlisle said. "We were up six [100-94] with a couple of minutes to go, and our inability to keep them out of the paint was our downfall."
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760