By Schuyler Dixon
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
DALLAS _ Luol Deng is still learning how he fits as Miami’s new No. 3 with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
The Dallas Mavericks might say he’s coming along just fine.
Deng scored a season-high 30 points, Bosh and Wade added 20 apiece and the Heat stayed perfect against Dallas since the 2011 NBA Finals with a 105-96 victory on Sunday night.
The Heat have won seven straight regular-season games against Dallas since the Mavericks took three in a row in the finals to capture their first championship.
Miami was without LeBron James in this rematch, while the Mavericks faced the Heat for the first time since the return of two important pieces from their title team, Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea.
But Deng was the key off-season acquisition that mattered most, going 13 of 19 from the field with five rebounds and four assists as the ball-moving Heat shot 55 per cent to 42 per cent for Dallas.
“We still have a lot to figure out,” Deng said. “Their game plan today, they doubled Bosh and D-Wade, and we did a good job of moving the ball and had a lot of open jumpers.”
Deng also badly outplayed Dallas’ big free-agent pickup in Chandler Parsons, who had just four points and is 2 of 20 from the field the past two games.
Bosh, coming home to Dallas as more of a headliner without James, had 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, while Wade added a game-high 10 assists to help the Heat roll despite their third straight back-to-back. They have two more this month.
“This was a very, very good win _ our best win of the year so far,” Wade said. “It was a challenge to play six games in nine nights.”
Monta Ellis led the Mavericks with 23 points, including the first 10 for Dallas in the third quarter, when the Mavericks got as close as four after trailing at halftime for the first time this season.
But Deng scored seven points on a 12-2 run that pushed the lead back to 14. The Heat led by as many as 22 in the fourth quarter before the Mavericks closed the gap.
“There’s no way they should come into our building on our home court and play harder than us,” Parsons said. “We’ve got to pick it up there.”
Dirk Nowitzki scored 17 points, and Chandler had season highs with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Barea scored three points in 13 minutes.
Heat: Mario Chalmers made his first three 3-pointers and finished with 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting. … Rookie Shabazz Napier played in the Dallas area for the first time since leading Connecticut to the NCAA title at the $1.2 billion home of the Cowboys. He was scoreless in 26 minutes.
Mavericks: Nowitzki needs 17 points to pass Hakeem Olajuwon for ninth on the career scoring list. Nowitzki is at 26,930 points. … The Mavericks had won 14 straight regular-season games against the Heat before Miami’s current streak.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s “disdain,” as he called it, for the Heat is fading a little bit. It’s going on nine years since Dallas lost to Wade-led Miami in 2006, and he got the payback five years later. But there’s one thing that never really changed for Cuban _ before or after. “I hated them before LeBron got there,” he said before the game. “He didn’t impact my feelings for them at all.”
Things got a little testy while the Heat pulled away in the second half. Chandler and Chalmers ended up nose-to-nose in an exchange that ended with a personal foul against Chalmers and a technical against Chandler early in the third quarter. Referees originally called a double technical before rescinding that call against Chalmers on video review. Early in the fourth, Nowitzki was whistled for a technical for complaining while running up the floor after a failed offensive possession.
Heat: Host Indiana on Wednesday in an Eastern Conference finals rematch.
Mavericks: Host Sacramento on Tuesday.