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Monday, Jan. 9, 2012

James lifts Wade-less Heat to win over Nets


NEWARK, New Jersey — LeBron James swears he wasn't trying to send a message, though his coach couldn't help but notice.

News photo
You're surrounded: Nets guard Deron Williams is swarmed by Heat defenders on Saturday in New Jersey. Miami won 101-90. AP

"You could kind of tell after about halfway through, he took three alley-oop lobs and a 360. I think without even talking to him that kind of spoke to us in volume that he was ready to go," Erik Spoelstra said.

That was during the morning shootaround.

Then James did roughly the same thing against the New Jersey Nets.

James returned to the lineup and scored 22 of his 32 points in the first quarter, and the Miami Heat rolled to a 101-90 victory on Saturday night despite playing without Dwyane Wade.

Wade missed his third straight game with a bruised left foot, but James had the game under control by the time his All-Star teammate arrived at his seat on the bench.

James made his first seven shots, leaping high for dunks, lobs and blocked shots and showing no effects from the sprained left ankle that forced him to miss a game. The NBA's leading scorer added nine assists and seven rebounds.

"If I feel like I'm good to go, then I'm going to go out and play my game," James said. "I'm not going to give no restriction, just try to do the things I do out on the court and I was able to get a couple of breakaways, some easy points, get to the free throw line and I was able to test the ankle out in the first quarter."

Chris Bosh added 16 points after a slow start for the Heat, who won their third straight and ran the NBA's best record to 8-1. They hope to have Wade back when they move to the West for the final three games of a five-game trip.

Mavericks 96, Hornets 81

In Dallas, Vince Carter and Ian Mahinmi had 13 points each as the Mavericks handed New Orleans its sixth consecutive loss.

Carter and Mahinmi led a balanced scoring attack for Dallas (4-5), which won its fourth straight at home and had six players scoring in double figures.

Knicks 103, Pistons 80

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Amare Stoudemire scored 22 points and Mike Bibby added 16.

Detroit guard Rodney Stuckey sat out with a groin injury, and the Pistons were also without forwards Austin Daye and Charlie Villanueva, who had sore ankles.

Thunder 98, Rockets 95

In Houston, Kevin Durant hit a jumper with 22 seconds left and nailed two free throws to give Oklahoma City a win over the Rockets.

Durant finished with 27 points and six rebounds, Russell Westbrook added 25 points and six assists, and reserve Nazr Mohammed had a season-high 17 points and six rebounds for the Thunder.

Hawks 109, Bulls 94

In Atlanta, Josh Smith scored 25 points, Joe Johnson and Vladimir Radmanovic each added 17 and the Hawks beat Chicago to snap the Bulls' six-game winning streak.

The Bulls, who dropped to 7-2 with the loss, had been off to their best start since going 12-0 in 1996-97

Spurs 121, Nuggets 117

In San Antonio, Danny Green scored a season-high 24 points as the Spurs beat Denver for their sixth straight home win.

Clippers 92, Bucks 86

In Los Angeles, Blake Griffin had 22 points and 14 rebounds, and Caron Butler scored 20 points to lead the Clippers past undermanned Milwaukee.

76ers 97, Raptors 62

In Philadelphia, Andre Iguodala had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Jrue Holiday also scored 14 points to lead the Sixers past Toronto for their fourth straight win.

Jazz 88, Warriors 87

In Oakland, Gordon Hayward made a go-ahead free throw with 11 seconds remaining, lifting Utah past Golden State for its fourth straight victory.

Pacers 99, Bobcats 77

In Indianapolis, Roy Hibbert had 20 points, eight rebounds and three blocks despite briefly having to leave the game with a sprained right ankle to lead Indiana to a home victory against Charlotte.

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