LeBron carries Heat with vintage 42-point effort


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.

Spurs 113, Clippers 103

In 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 the Clippers.

Blake Griffin had 35 points and 12 rebounds for Los Angeles.

Pacers 108, Hawks 98

In Indianapolis, Paul George scored 26 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead the Pacers to a victory over Atlanta.

Grizzlies 98, Knicks 93

In Memphis, Mike Conley scored 22 points in his return after missing seven games with an ankle injury, Mike Miller added a season-high 19 and the Grizzlies weathered New York’s second-half rally.

Cavaliers 114, 76ers 85

In 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 the 76ers.

Irving, selected MVP of the NBA All-Star game on Sunday with 31 points and 14 assists, played only 23 minutes in the rout.

Raptors 103, Wizards 93

In Washington, Kyle Lowry had 24 points and 10 assists, and Toronto broke open a close game in the third quarter before holding off the Wizards.

Bobcats 108, Pistons 96

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Al Jefferson had 32 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists to lead Charlotte over Detroit.

Bucks 104, Magic 100

In Milwaukee, Brandon Knight overcame a bizarre foot injury, scoring 18 points and making two free throws with 5.5 seconds left to seal the Bucks’ victory over Orlando in a game between two of the NBA’s worst teams.

Suns 112, Nuggets 107 (OT)

In Denver, Gerald Green scored a career-high 36 points, including eight in overtime, and Phoenix handed the Nuggets their fifth consecutive loss.