DALLAS - The last time these teams played, the Heat performed at historic offensive levels.
On Monday, the Heat was so abysmal offensively late in the game that Miami nearly squandered an 18-point fourth quarter lead.
Miami ultimately survived a late 20-5 Dallas run to stave off the Mavericks, 95-88, and begin this four-game road trip on a winning note.
Dallas drew to within three late but Miami scored the final four points.
The Heat went 5:42 without a field goal late in the fourth quarter, comitting six turnovers during that stretch, before a Goran Dragic basket off a James Johnson assist pushed Miami’s lead to 93-88 with 25 seconds left. Two Tyler Johnson free throws accounted for the final points.
Miami improved to 29-21 and remained in fourth in the Eastern Conference, 1.5 games ahead of Milwaukee, Washington and Indiana, who occupy the fifth, sixth and seventh spots, respectively.
The Heat, which plays at Cleveland on Wednesday, remains one game behind 29-19 Cleveland, which plays Detroit Tuesday.
Hassan Whiteside, determined to capitalize on an advantageous matchup against Dirk Nowitski and backup Salah Mejri, was aggressive early, scoring eight of the Heat’s first 12 points en route to a 25-point, 14-rebound night.
Just five weeks ago in Miami, the Heat set a franchise record by shooting 64 percent on threes (16 for 25, minimum 25 attempts) in a 113-101 win against Dallas. The Heat’s 63.9 shooting percentage that night was second-best in franchise history.
On Monday, the Heat closed at 45 percent from the field and 39 on threes.
Josh Richardson added 14, Dragic 13 and Kelly Olynyk chipped in 12.
Meantime, the Mavericks shot just 39 percent, missing 11 consecutive shots at one point in the second half, before its late rally.
The Heat led 51-46 at the half and pushed the lead to 16 midway through the third and 18 in the fourth.
But a 9-0 Mavericks run ignited that 20-5 spurt that pulled Dallas within three.
Miami improved to 16-11 on the road and remains one of only four teams with a better road record than home record. Phoenix, Boston and Golden State are the others.