MIAMI – The nice thing about the NBA is that after an embarrassing loss, most times it’s not long before teams get a chance to make amends.
That comes compliments of those dreaded games on back-to-back nights that teams abhor.
But the Dallas Mavericks are banking on using the second leg of a back-to-back game Saturday night at home against the New Orleans Pelicans as a springboard to helping them start feeling good about themselves again.
A confidence boost is definitely in order for the Mavs, who were embarrassed by the Miami Heat, 106-82, Friday night at American Airlines Arena.
"That’s the beautiful thing about the NBA,’’ point guard Deron Williams said. "We get right back at it.
"So we’ve got to take care of ourselves tonight, get some rest and be ready to go tomorrow.’’
Certainly, the Mavs were not ready for anything the Heat threw at them. As was as if the Heat were running a sprint while the Mavs were in marathon mode.
Miami won the rebounding battle 50-40, and out-shot the Mavs from the field 55.1 percent to 36.4 percent.
"We didn’t play well, and we’ve got another one tomorrow,’’ said Wesley Matthews, who had 12 points. "We (need to) bring some better energy, some better effort tomorrow, fight.
"I don’t know what it was, but it can’t happen again. We’ve been playing good basketball.’’
The Mavs (19-14) entered Friday with a four-game winning streak. But they missed 18 of their first 22 shots, and couldn’t get any sustained offensively – or defensive – efforts all night.
But they’re hoping to have short memories once they hit the floor against the Pelicans.
"We’ve all lost games or loss three in a row before and have a game the next night,’’ said Dirk Nowitzki, who had 11 points on 4-iof-14 shooting. "In this league you got to have a short memory.
"We’ll get some rest – we know it’s a long flight home – but we’ll get some sleep tonight. We’ll probably have a short shootaround before the game tomorrow and get accustomed to what they do.’’
The Pelicans opened the season with six straight losses, won a game, and then lost the next five. That one victory was against the Mavs, 120-105, so the Mavs can’t afford to overlook them, in spite of their 10-22 record.
"This team has already beaten us once, and so we can’t take them lightly regardless of their record. They have a lot of talent on that team, they play hard and so we got to be ready to bring it tomorrow.’’
Guard Devin Harris was lost to back spasms in the game against the Heat, and it’s unclear when he’ll be able to play again.
"He was hit in the back, and then he strained his back as he was recovering from the hit, as I understand,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. "I assume he’ll be out awhile -- I don’t know how long.’’
But the Mavs did have the services of point guard Deron Williams, who has missed the previous four games with a strained left hamstring. Williams played 20 minutes off the bench ad finished with nine points (3-of-9 shooting) and five assists.
"I like the way he moved out there,’’ Carlisle said. "Many positive signs.
"I thought he competed hard, he got the ball in the basket a few times. He’s been out 10-12 days, whatever it is, it’ll be difficult stepping back out on the court, but he did a good job. Unfortunately we just didn’t have enough as a team to really get close enough to be there.’’
The Mavs were down 22-10 after the first quarter. That’s the fewest points they’ve score in one quarter since they scored eight points in the first quarter of an Apr. 21, 2012 road game in Chicago.
Miami built a 58-45 lead at intermission and never allowed the Mavs to get close than 11 points in the entire second half. Offensive execution was not one of the Mavs’ favorite friends on this night.
"We couldn’t make a run, push it to 10,’’ Nowitzki said. "Every time we got a little momentum we either made a mistake on the other end, or they made a big shot.
"We just never could get it to 10 or to where we felt like we still had a shot.’’
Hassan Whiteside had a monster game for Miami as he finished with 25 points and 19 rebounds. He had 18 points and 13 rebounds at halftime.
"He started to make some jump shots,’’ Nowitzki said. "He hit me with a double step back (jumper).
"I don’t think I’ve seen that move before. But like I said, once a guy has some confidence and sees the ball go through the hoop time after time, then it’s tough to guard.’’
The Mavs just hope the Pelicans don’t pose the litany of problems Dallas faced against the Heat.
"I’m very disappointed because we have been playing very well,’’ Carilsle said. "But we got to flush it and get ready for tomorrow.
"We’re going to have to play a heck of a lot better tomorrow night in all areas.’’
Dwain Price can be heard every Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. on dfwiradio.com