Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks have met in the NBA Finals twice — now both are rebuilding

The Heat and Mavericks share a lot of history together. (Getty Images)

The Heat and Mavericks share a lot of history together. (Getty Images)

MIAMI — The Heat and Mavericks have a history together.

Miami beat Dallas to win its first NBA title in 2006. Dallas beat Miami to win its first NBA title in 2011.

But just a few seasons later, both teams are at the bottom of the standings. Entering Thursday’s game, the Heat hold the NBA’s second-worst record at 12-30 and the Mavericks aren’t much better with a record of 14-27.

“It’s not exactly 2011,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said in advance of Thursday’s game in Miami. “But it’s two franchises that are competitive and are playing a little better in recent games. We’ve had health issues, they’ve obviously had health issues.”

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The Heat lead the NBA in most games missed due to injury, according to the analytics website Man-Games Lost. The Mavericks are sixth on that list.

“They started out slow, a lot of injuries, [Dirk] Nowitzki was out, a lot of personnel changes with new guys coming in,” Erik Spoelstra said of Dallas. “But the standards of championship expectations of how they do things remain the same. And it’s not based on the result.”

That’s the same approach the Heat are taking. Spoelstra has said multiple times this season that the Heat are a process-oriented organization playing in a result-based league.

Stability is another thing both organizations share. Carlisle and Spoelstra have managed to hold on to their current jobs since 2008 in an NBA coaching world that features plenty of turnover.

Spoelstra is the second-longest tenured coach in the NBA behind San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich. And Carlisle was hired by Dallas just a few weeks after Spoelstra was named Miami’s head coach.

“I just know the standards are high with both organizations,” Spoelstra said. “I’ve never been inside their walls, but you respect them because you’ve played against them and you’ve seen their consistency over a long period of time. There’s not a lot of turnover in either organization, so that allows you a little bit quicker of track. It doesn’t guarantee anything, but a quicker track to build things back up.”

Carlisle believes that stability starts with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Heat owner Micky Arison.

“These guys are two of the best owners in sports history,” Carlisle said. “They know what they’re doing. Coincidentally, Erik and I have been in our two situations for almost the same exact amount of time. There are ebbs and flows to franchises as time goes along. You have some cyclical things happening. But you want to maintain the same culture and you want to always be looking ahead as well as in the present. That’s what we’re doing. I believe that’s probably what the Heat are doing as well.”

The Mavericks haven’t finished below .500 since the 1999-2000 seasons. And the Heat haven’t finished with less than 35 wins since the 2007-08 season.

Both teams are on pace to fall into those categories this year.

“That’s how the league goes,” 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said. “You can never take anything for granted.”

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