(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
An NBA road trip to Florida to take on the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat in back-to-back nights became much more daunting in 2010, when All-Star forwards LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined All-Star guard Dwyane Wade in South Beach and gave the Sunshine State another championship-contending squad. When they visit Amway Center on Friday night, the Dallas Mavericks will complete the 19th back-to-back Florida trip since the so-called Heatles joined forces, and in the process look to avoid becoming the 12th team to get swept on that trip.
Only three times in 18 tries has a team visited Florida to take on the Heat and Magic in back-to-back nights--in any order--and won both contests, and nobody's pulled it off since the Portland Trail Blazers did so on March 7th and 8th, 2011. During the compressed 2011/12 season, the trip has proven particularly brutal: to date, three of the four teams to complete the back-to-back have been swept. Only the San Antonio Spurs managed to salvage a split, as they earned an 85-83 overtime victory against the Magic one night after suffering a 22-point blowout at AmericanAirlines Arena.
And Friday, the defending champion Mavericks will try to become just the second team since 2010 to defeat the Magic one night after losing to the Heat in Miami; San Antonio became the first team to do so, as outlined above. Despite 25 points from NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas fell in Miami on Thursday, 106-85. If recent history holds, the Mavs will leave Florida empty-handed Friday evening, with the Heat/Magic back-to-back claiming yet another victim.