DALLAS (Reuters) - The struggling Miami Heat held a players-only meeting that lasted 20 minutes following their 106-95 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.
The loss meant the Heat’s record dropped to 9-8 which is well below preseason expectations after signing two-times reigning Most Valuable Player LeBron James and multiple All Star Chris Bosh to complement Dwyane Wade.
“It’s tough because I know the potential of this team,” Wade said.
“I know the visual that I had when this team was put together. Like I’ve said, my (2006) championship team was 10-10. I’ve been a part of it when it’s great and I’ve been a part of Miami when it’s not so great.”
James said: “Everybody had an opportunity to get off what they had on their chest or what they had in their head about us figuring things out. Right now, we are a 9-8 team and we have to own up to that.”
After taking a 51-49 halftime lead, the Mavericks used a 13-0 run to open the third quarter to edge clear.
Miami struggled throughout against the Mavericks’ defense and hit just three of 18 shots as they were outscored 31-17 in the quarter.
“We made a point to get out of the locker room and get loose,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.
“Show them that we would be warm and we wanted to pick up the pace. We felt that by pushing the ball, it wasn’t necessarily their game.”
The Heat challenged in the final period with a 15-2 run and drew within five points following a three-point basket by Mario Chalmers with 4:18 remaining but Dirk Nowitzki hit two foul shots and Caron Butler nailed a 15-foot effort to give Dallas a 98-89 lead with just over three minutes left .
James led the Heat in scoring with 23 points but hit just five of 19 shots from the floor. Butler scored 23 to lead Dallas to a season-high five successive win and improve to 12-4.
Editing by Patrick Johnston