8:30 PM ET, February 18, 2014
American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
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.
LeBron James scored 12 fourth-quarter points on 4-of-6 shooting against the Mavs. On a per 40-minute basis, LeBron is the highest fourth-quarter scorer and one of the most efficient this season:
-- ESPN Stats & Information
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.
Fans about 10 rows from the court were briefly distracted from the entertaining first half when two men were led out of the arena in handcuffs after an apparent fight early in the second quarter. ... The crowd included four of the Dallas Cowboys' biggest stars: QB Tony Romo, TE Jason Witten, WR Dez Bryant and RB DeMarco Murray.
DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 18: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat isolated during a game at American Airlines Center on...(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: LeBron James with a ridiculous 42 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Dallas had no answer for the reigning MVP (who does?), who dominated the game from the opening tip.
Defining moment: Up 95-92 after a Vince Carter four-point play, Shawn Marion turned over a defensive rebound. This spurred a 14-0 Miami run, including 10 from LeBron, to put the game out of reach.
X factor: Shooting percentages. Getting outrebounded by 22 isn't much of a problem for Miami as it continued its historic season, hitting 57 percent of its shots. Dallas, on the other hand, couldn't connect enough, hitting just 40 percent from the floor.
Next 5 Games
LeBron James has now scored at least 35 points in three straight games for the first time in a Heat uniform. The last time he scored at least 35 in three straight games was January 2010 with the Cavs (4 straight games).
LeBron James scored 12 4th-quarter points on 4-of-6 shooting against the Mavs, and has scored at least 12 4th-quarter points in 3 straight games. On a per 40-minute basis, LeBron is the highest 4th-quarter scorer, and one of the most efficient this season.[+]
LeBron James was 16 for 23 from the field (69.6 percent) in the Heat's win on Tuesday night. Said James after the game: "I'm in a zone right now." This was almost as good of a zone as he's ever been in. James has only had one game in his career in which he took at least 23 shots from the field and shot better than he did on Tuesday. He was 19 for 26 (73.1 percent) against the Celtics in Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. The 16 for 23 tied the best shooting percentage for James in a regular season game, matching the 16 for 23 he shot against the Mavericks on March 29, 2006.
ESPN Stats & Information