LeBron James drove for an emphatic dunk during a decisive fourth-quarter run and went skipping to the bench after a Dallas Mavericks timeout. The Miami Heat 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 on Tuesday (local time).
Miami came out of the NBA All-Star break by winning for the sixth time in seven games heading into James' duel with Kevin Durant on Thursday in Oklahoma City. It's the last game of the Heat's second six-game road trip, a season high.
Also, Patty Mills scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to guide the San Antonio Spurs to a 113-103 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana beat Atlanta, and Phoenix won in overtime against slumping Denver.
James, the 10-time All-Star, was nearly impossible to stop, 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.
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.
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.
Mills finished with 25 points for the Spurs and Tim Duncan had 19 points and 13 rebounds during a foul-plagued 38 minutes as San Antonio opened a 2-1/2 game lead over Houston in the Southwest Division.
The Spurs beat LA despite being 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. Backup shooting guard Manu Ginobili retunred after eight games out with a hamstring strain.
Blake Griffin had 35 points and 12 rebounds for the Clippers, whose lead atop the Pacific Division was trimmed to four games.
Indiana's Paul George scored 26 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead the Pacers over Atlanta 108-98, retaining a 2 1/2-game lead over Miami for the Eastern Conference lead.
David West had 17 points for Indiana, which went on a 12-2 run in the third quarter.
Kyle Korver scored 19 points, shooting 5 for 7 on 3-pointers, for the Hawks, who have lost six straight.
Phoenix's Gerald Green scored a career-high 36 points, including eight in overtime, to guide the Suns past Denver 112-107.
Goran Dragic added 21 points and 14 assists for the Suns, who completed a four-game season sweep of the Nuggets, their first in nine years.
Charlotte's Al Jefferson had 32 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists to lead the Bobcats to a 108-96 win over Detroit, Toronto beat Washington 103-93, Memphis held off New York 98-93, Cleveland won its fifth straight by cruising past struggling Philadelphia 114-85, and Milwaukee edged Orlando 104-100.
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