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Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011

LeBron's 51 carry Miami past Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) In the days leading up to Miami's third matchup of the season with Southeast Division-rival Orlando, LeBron James stressed that even at barely the midpoint of the season there was high importance for Thursday night's game.

News photo
King of the court: Miami's LeBron James puts up a shot against Orlando in the first half on Thursday night. The Heat beat the Magic 104-100. AP PHOTO

And James played like it, pouring in 51 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists — including a 23-point first quarter — to lead Miami to a 104-100 victory.

It was a season high for James, whose scoring effort tied for the fifth most points of his career. Dwyane Wade added 15 points and Chris Bosh 13.

The victory was the Heat's fourth straight. The Magic lost for the fourth time in their last six and fell behind 2-1 in the season series with Miami.

"Just playing this team got me going," said James, who hit his first 11 shots of the night. "We understand that it wasn't just any regular-season game. There were a lot of things said about us in the offseason that came from this organization. So we just wanted to come in here and play to our abilities and make a statement."

Jameer Nelson led Orlando with 22 points. Dwight Howard had 17 points and 16 rebounds, but only one point after halftime and was just 3-for-13 at the free-throw line. Jason Richardson chipped in 16.

Instead, led by James, the Heat did their damage from the outside. They led by as many as 23 points before a frantic rally by the Magic in the final six minutes almost washed it away.

Miami took a 16-point advantage into the final period and led 90-69 before the Magic went on a 19-4 run, capped by Gilbert Arenas' 3-pointer to cut the lead to 94-88 with 1:51 remaining in the game.

But James responded with his own trey with the shot clock winding down to give Miami a 97-88 cushion.

"We just let our guard down," James said. "We can't do that as a veteran ball club. You can say that about a young team. We came in (the locker room) and you could tell by the look on the guys' faces that we weren't satisfied with the way we finished the game out. That's always a good sign. It's wasn't just 'Let's celebrate.' "

Spurs 89, Lakers 88

In Los Angeles, Antonio McDyess tipped in Tim Duncan's missed jump shot right before the buzzer and San Antonio survived a late Lakers rally.

Tony Parker scored 21 points and Richard Jefferson added 18 in a meeting of the Western Conference's top two teams.

Pau Gasol scored 19 points for Los Angeles.

Warriors 100, Bucks 94

In Oakland, Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry combined for 15 points in the final 4:38 to lift Golden State in a win over Milwaukee.

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