Erik Spoelstra swore his team wasn’t looking past the Mavericks on Tuesday in anticipation of Thursday’s much-anticipated showdown in Oklahoma City.
LeBron James sure looked pretty focused.
James dominated play for much of the night as he scored a season-high 42 points in Miami’s 117-106 win over the host Mavericks.
With the Heat down four in the fourth, James went on a personal 8-0 run — he hit back-to-back three-pointers before throwing down a dunk in transition — to help fuel Miami’s fourth win of this road trip.
Miami eventually turned that into a 14-0 run with James getting 10 and Chris Andersen — who buzzed off his usually spiked mohawk — dunking for the other four points as Miami opened up an 11-point lead.
The Heat (4-1 since starting this trip on Feb. 5 against the Clippers) closes its six-game roadie Thursday at West-leading Oklahoma City.
Miami swept the two-game season series from the Mavericks for the third consecutive year as Miami has won six in a row against Dallas dating to opening night of the 2011-12 season.
Dallas, of course, raised its NBA title banner won against the Heat that previous summer. The Mavs previous win over Miami came in Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals on June 12.
Spoelstra says he doesn’t need to look into the rafters to see the Mavs’ banner because the memories of those Finals flood back whenever Miami visits.
“I remember it was great competition,’’ coach Erik Spoelstra said during Tuesday’s morning shootaround about returning to Dallas. “Every time we had an opportunity to seal a win, they found a way. I’ll always remember this place.’’
Miami, aside from James and a few others, showed a little rust from the recent All-Star break.
James, who seemingly stayed pretty busy during his weekend in New Orleans, stole the show despite a third-quarter lull.
Was James a little perturbed at being told by a local reporter that Dallas’ Shawn Marion left him off his so-called NBA ‘Mount Rushmore?’
Looked like it.
“I really don’t care what people say, what people think,’’ James said before the game. “I don’t care what anyone says about the way I play about the game of basketball.’’
James scored off half-court lobs from Dwyane Wade in the opening quarter to drilling a fadeaway baseline jumper while being fouled by Marion with 2:45 left in the half to give Miami a seven-point lead at 55-48.
Miami led for much of the first quarter but Dallas retook the lead early in the second and held a five-point lead with 6:29 left in the half before Mario Chalmers drained a three-pointer.
The Heat took off from there and led by nine when Chalmers hit a layup as he and James broke free on a 2-on-1 break.
Miami led by six at the break.
Dallas, however, took advantage of Miami’s cold shooting and sloppy play and quickly erased its deficit.
By the time Jose Calderon drained a three-pointer with 6:02 left in the third, Miami was down six.
James got things flowing again, snatching a defensive rebound and driving the length of the court before throwing down a hard jam.
Chris Bosh got into the act by hitting a three-pointer to pull Miami within three. James’ trifecta with 3:13 left in the third gave Miami the lead at 78-76.
Dallas led by one going into the fourth.
With James on the bench for the first four minutes of the fourth, Wade & Co. had to carry the load for a while. Wade took a nice feed from Ray Allen and drove the lane, his reverse finger roll giving Miami the lead with eight minutes left.
A four-point play from Vince Carter (15 points) negated that — although James tied things moments later with his third trey of the night. James hit another three not long afterward to stoke Miami to a three-point lead before he threw down a jam to complete his eight-point run.
A 3-pointer from Bosh from the left corner with 1:18 left all but ended it for Miami. If that didn’t, an alley-oop from James to Andersen with 53.5 remaining sure did. Andersen, who hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds, ended with 18 points.
Source : George Richards