James scores 42, Heat pull away from Mavs 117-106
DALLAS — LeBron James drove for an emphatic dunk during a decisive fourth-quarter run and went skipping to the bench after a Dallas timeout.
The Miami star has sure had fun against his old nemesis this season.
James scored a season-high 42 points and the Heat tuned up for a showdown with Oklahoma City by beating the Mavericks 117-106 Tuesday night.
The 10-time All-Star was nearly impossible to stop in the first game after the break, topping his previous season high of 39 points in a win over Dallas in Miami in November.
This victory completed Miami’s third straight season sweep of the Mavericks — six consecutive wins — since losing to them in the 2011 NBA Finals, James’ first season after his celebrated signing with the Heat.
“He is great and we know he is great,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “He scored a bundle of points on us last time and he was even better tonight.”
James scored the first eight points and 10 overall in a 14-0 run that put the Heat up 106-95 after they trailed by one entering the fourth quarter.
Miami came out of the All-Star break by winning for the sixth time in seven games heading into James’ duel with Kevin Durant on Thursday night in Oklahoma City. It’s the last game of the Heat’s second six-game road trip, a season high.
“I’m still tired,” said James, who had 22 points in 33 minutes in Sunday’s All-Star game. “But when I’m on the court, I’ve got to try to make things happen.”
Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points to lead the Mavericks, who couldn’t follow up a win at Indiana, the other top team in the Eastern Conference, in their final game before the break.
The deciding run started when James, who also had nine rebounds and six assists, stole a pass from Shawn Marion in the backcourt and pulled up for a tying 3-pointer.
After hitting another 3 over Marion to put Miami ahead for good, James drove for a dunk following Mario Chalmers’ steal of a pass from Devin Harris. James made four of eight from long range after getting warmed up with a couple of dunks in the first quarter.
“When we turned it over, he was gone,” Marion said. “After his fourth open-court dunk, the basket started feeling a little bit bigger for him. He just started taking pull-up 3s.”
The Mavericks, who are in a tight battle with four teams for the final three playoff spots in the West, went without a field goal for 6 minutes after a four-point play by Vince Carter, who scored 15.
Dallas missed seven shots and had three turnovers while Miami pulled away.
“We played hard the whole night,” Carlisle said. “We tried to keep it going and get some traction, but we had some untimely struggles. Let’s put it that way.”
Chris Bosh scored 22 for Miami and Dwyane Wade had 13 after missing the final two games before the break with a foot problem. Chris Andersen scored a season-high 18, including his second 3-pointer of the season for Miami’s final points.
Chalmers had 10 points and nine assists for the Heat.
“When Bird is playing like that, we are so much more of a dynamic team,” Wade said of Andersen. “When ‘Bron is driving, he can see over the defense and he can find Bird for a lot of those lobs.”
James scored 19 points in an entertaining first half that included an alley-oop dunk on a pass from near midcourt by Wade, a breakaway slam and the buzz of anticipation for another alley-oop that instead was a simple layup from Chalmers when Monta Ellis, the lone defender, chose to guard James.
Early on, the Mavericks looked primed for the only visit of the season from the two-time defending champions.
Nowitzki was on pace for a triple-double in the first half with nine points, seven rebounds and five assists, and Harris found Brandan Wright with a fancy pass for a running dunk that was thrown straight down, barely making a ripple in the net.
Nowitzki finished with nine rebounds and seven assists.
SPURS 113, CLIPPERS 103
LOS ANGELES — Patty Mills scored 16 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, Tim Duncan had 19 points and 13 rebounds during a foul-plagued 38 minutes, and San Antonio charged out of the All-Star break with a victory over Los Angeles.
The Spurs played without six-time All-Star Tony Parker, whom coach Gregg Popovich said would be sidelined “for the foreseeable future” because of numerous aches and pains — including a bruised shin, a groin strain and lower back spasms.
The veteran point guard, who played 11 minutes in Sunday’s All-Star game, is the Spurs’ leading scorer and their only player averaging at least 30 minutes.
Blake Griffin had 35 points and 12 rebounds, Jamal Crawford scored 25 and DeAndre Jordan grabbed 18 rebounds for the Clippers. J.J. Redick missed his fifth straight game with a sore right hip.
Backup shooting guard Manu Ginobili returned to the Spurs’ lineup and had nine points in 14 minutes after missing eight games because of tightness in his left hamstring.
PACERS 108, HAWKS 98
INDIANAPOLIS — Paul George scored 26 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead Indiana over Atlanta.
David West had 17 points and Lance Stephenson added 13 to help the Pacers beat the Hawks for the second time in three meetings this season.
Kyle Korver scored 19 points, shooting 5 for 7 on 3-pointers, and Lou Williams added 18 points for the Hawks, who have lost six straight.
The Pacers went on a 12-2 run in the third quarter on a basket by West, two 3-pointers by George and a dunk and layup by George Hill to give Indiana a 73-54 lead early in the third.
The Pacers put the game away when Ian Mahinmi converted a three-point play and Danny Granger hit a 3 to take a 101-82 lead.
GRIZZLIES 98, KNICKS 93
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mike Conley scored 22 points in his return after missing seven games with an ankle injury, Mike Miller added a season-high 19 and Memphis weathered New York’s second-half rally.
Miller shot 7 for 11 from the field, including 5 of 7 on 3-pointers, to help Memphis win its third straight. His 3 with 45.9 seconds remaining gave the Grizzlies the lead for good as they scored the game’s final seven points.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 23 to lead the Knicks, including 14 during their fourth-quarter push. Carmelo Anthony finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds.
Memphis built an 18-point cushion in the first half before the Knicks rallied to take a seven-point lead in the fourth.
CAVALIERS 114, 76ERS 85
PHILADELPHIA — Tyler Zeller scored a season-high 18 points and grabbed a career-best 15 rebounds, Kyrie Irving added 14 points and Cleveland pushed its winning streak to five games with a blowout of skidding Philadelphia.
Irving, selected MVP of the NBA All-Star game on Sunday with 31 points and 14 assists, played only 23 minutes in this rout.
Dion Waiters had 13 points before leaving with a knee injury in the second quarter. Luol Deng also scored 13 and Tristan Thompson had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Cavaliers (21-33), on their longest winning streak since an eight-game run in March 2010. That was LeBron James’ final season in Cleveland.
The reeling Sixers fell to 15-40 with their ninth loss in a row and eighth straight at home — their longest skid since the 1996-97 season. Philadelphia has dropped 19 of 22 overall.
RAPTORS 103, WIZARDS 93
WASHINGTON — Kyle Lowry had 24 points and 10 assists, and Toronto broke open a close game in the third quarter before holding off Washington.
Five Raptors joined Lowry in double figures, including Amir Johnson, who returned after missing two games with a sore right ankle. He scored 14 points.
The Atlantic Division leaders, who have won three straight, also got 14 from DeMar DeRozan and Greivis Vasquez.
John Wall led the Wizards with 22 points and Marcin Gortat added 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Washington has lost three straight and five of six. The Wizards fell to 13-14 at home this season.
BOBCATS 108, PISTONS 96
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Al Jefferson had 32 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists to lead Charlotte over Detroit.
Kemba Walker scored 22 points and Josh McRoberts added 14 points and 10 rebounds to help the Bobcats extend their lead over the Pistons to 1½ games for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Jefferson reached 30 points for the sixth time in nine games.
The teams conclude their home-and-home set in Charlotte on Wednesday night.
Andre Drummond, coming off his MVP performance in the Rising Stars game last Friday, had 16 points and 22 rebounds for Detroit. But that wasn’t enough to overcome a terrible shooting performance by his teammates. Interim coach John Loyer dropped to 1-2 since replacing Maurice Cheeks last week.
BUCKS 104, MAGIC 100
MILWAUKEE — Brandon Knight overcame a bizarre foot injury, scoring 18 points and making two free throws with 5.5 seconds left to seal Milwaukee’s victory over Orlando in a game between two of the NBA’s worst teams.
Orlando fell to 3-24 on the road. Despite snapping a four-game losing streak, the Bucks have lost 19 of 22 overall.
Knight played 34 minutes despite slicing his foot open on a baseboard while stepping out of his bathroom shower Tuesday afternoon. He missed 10 of 13 shots from the field but hit all 12 of his free throws.
Before the game, Knight said he was unsure whether he could play. He started anyway.
Arron Afflalo scored 21 points and Nikola Vucevic added 19 for Orlando.
Bucks rookie Nate Wolters hit a 3-pointer with 29 seconds to go to give Milwaukee a 99-97 lead.
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