With another Miami starter leaving the game prematurely because of an injury, Wayne Ellington realized he needed to increase his contributions.
And Ellington responded. The reserve guard tied a career high with 28 points to lead the Heat past the Dallas Mavericks 113-101 on Friday night.
Ellington went 10 of 16 from the field and hit a career-high eight 3-pointers, including four in the fourth quarter.
"This is home, I'm comfortable in this building," Ellington said.
Ellington's performance was needed after starting guard Dion Waiters limped off the court with an apparent left ankle injury late in the first quarter and didn't return. Starters Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside and key reserves James Johnson and Justise Winslow sat out Friday because of injuries.
"We realized Dion went down and we needed to come together collectively," Ellington said. "We know we needed this win and protect the home court."
The Heat have won 10 of their first 18 on the road but are 7-7 at home.
Consecutive 3-pointers from Ellington midway through the fourth quarter increased the Heat's lead to 90-82 with 7:36 remaining.
Wesley Matthews' two free throws with 2:07 left got the Mavericks within 103-98 before Ellington and Josh Richardson responded with consecutive 3-pointers.
Richardson scored 24 points on 11-of-14 shooting and Tyler Johnson finished with 19 points for Miami (17-15).
"I believe in these guys and I believe in this team," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "So we will just have to keep this train rolling in the right direction."
Yogi Ferrell scored 23 points for the Mavericks. Ferrell was 9 of 13 from the field, including 5 of 7 from long distance.
The Mavericks (9-24) hit 17 3-pointers.
"They just compete -- that's their DNA down here," Nowitzki said of the Heat. "They come at you hard. When their confidence gets going, they made shots, tough shots, tough 3s at times. We tried to make a run and they kept making plays."
The Heat scored 12 straight points to start the game and the second half.
Miami twice had 13-point leads in the first half before the Mavericks outscored Miami 16-7 in the final 5:54 of the second period. J.J. Barea's layup with 52 seconds remaining in the quarter tied it 53-53 at halftime.
"(A 12-0 run) to start the game, 12-0 to start the second half, you combine it it's ridiculous," Mavericks coach Rick Carlyle said. "Their level of force was greater from start to finish. We made some good runs, but when you're swimming against the current the whole game, it's very difficult to get over the hump."
NOTES: As he continues to recover from the foot injury that has sidelined him all season, F Josh McRoberts watched Friday night's game from the Dallas bench against the team he played the past three seasons. Coach Rick Carlyle said it is not unreasonable for McRoberts to return in the "coming weeks." ... Mavericks G Dennis Smith Jr.'s minutes remain restricted after his second appearance since returning from a left hip strain that sidelined him six games. Smith played 26 minutes against Miami. ... On Saturday, the Heat will conclude its first set of back-to-back home games since 2011-12. Miami played seven back-to-back home games in the lockout shortened season ... G Dion Waiters' first-quarter injury resulted in rotation minutes for rookie G Derrick Walton Jr., who scored seven points in 23 minutes.