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 superstar has 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 night.
The 10-time All-Star was nearly impossible to stop in the first game after the break, surpassing his previous season high of 39 points in a victory over Dallas in Miami in November.
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This victory completed Miami’s third straight season sweep of the Mavericks — six consecutive games — 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 the two-time defending champions 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 league scoring leader Kevin Durant on Thursday night in Oklahoma City. It is the last game of the Heat’s second six-game 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.
Chris Bosh scored 22 for Miami and Dwyane Wade had 13.
Dallas missed seven shots and had three turnovers while Miami pulled away.
Mills leads Spurs
LOS ANGELES – Patty Mills scored 16 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, Tim Duncan had 19 points and 13 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs posted a 113-103 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in a matchup of division leaders.
The Spurs played 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.
Parker is the Spurs’ leading scorer and their only player averaging at least 30 minutes.
Blake Griffin had 35 points and 12 rebounds and Jamal Crawford — a graduate of Rainier Beach High in Seattle — scored 25 for the Clippers.
Suns win in OT
DENVER – Gerald Green scored a career-high 36 points, including eight in overtime, and the Phoenix Suns beat Denver 112-107 to hand the Nuggets their fifth consecutive loss.
Goran Dragic added 21 points and 14 assists for the Suns.
• Mike Conley scored 22 points in his return after missing seven games with an ankle injury and the host Memphis Grizzlies beat the New York Knicks 98-93.
• Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge, a three-time All-Star, is expected to be out for a week because of a left groin strain.
• Lamar Odom, 34, former Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers forward, will resume his career after signing with Spanish franchise Laboral Kutxa, the Los Angeles Times reported. Odom played last season for the Clippers, but had yet to find a home again in the NBA.