The Dallas Mavericks will get to celebrate their 2011 NBA Championship in their home arena for the first time on Sunday, but after that they'll face a stiff test from the team they defeated to claim that title. The Miami Heat certainly can't erase the pain and embarrassment of their Finals loss to the Mavs with a victory on Christmas Day, but they will nonetheless be trying their hardest to exact a little revenge on the road in Dallas.
The Heat will more or less look the same on Sunday; they've added Shane Battier, and will be folding in youngsters Norris Cole (at point guard) and Dexter Pittman (at center), but the team still revolves around the vaunted Big 3. The Mavs meanwhile will be replacing two major contributors, and folding new one into the line up. With Tyson Chandler moving on to the New York Knicks, the backbone of the Mavs' defense will need to be replaced, and for the time being that will fall on the shoulders of Brendon Haywood and Ian Mahinmi. The Mavs will also be without bench sparkplug J.J. Barea, who signed a free agent deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the off season. That scoring punch of the bench is expected to come from new acquisition Lamar Odom, who the Mavs received from the Los Angeles Lakers in a trade after the L.A.'s deal for Chris Paul involving Odom was nixed by David Stern.
Game date/time: Sunday, Dec. 25, 1:30 p.m. CT
Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
TV coverage: ABC
Mavs: ESPN 103.3 FM
Heat: WAXY 790 AM
Odds: Heat favored by 4.5