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Heat halt slide with rout of Kings

The SportsXchange

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings, even at home, were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

They saw the defending world champion Miami Heat play close to as well as it can on the way to stomping the Kings, 128-99, Saturday night before an announced crowd of 14,367 at Sleep Train Arena.

The Heat (24-11) entered the game having lost two in a row and quickly showed it did not plan on losing three straight for the first time this season. Three minutes into the contest, the Heat held a 14-2 advantage. The Kings never held a lead for the third time this season.

Miami coach Eric Spoelstra said his team's dominant performance started in practice Friday.

"Everybody just came in with the right attitude," the coach said. "They did not take the day off. They continued to try and correct some things and get over the hump to get our first win (of the road trip). Nothing is easy in this league on the road and you can't take a game for granted no matter where you play."

If this wasn't easy for Miami, it had to be the closest thing to it. The Heat led by 22 at the half and never led by fewer than 18 points in the second half. Miami led by as many as 38 as it took advantage of 17 Sacramento turnovers by turning them into 34 points.

Kings coach Keith Smart admitted the game was over virtually just after it began.

"We turned the ball over and missed four paint shots in the first couple of minutes and this team takes turnovers and turns them into dunks at the other end," Smart said. "We knew (the Heat) was coming in a little salty after losing two games in a row. The game got away from us in the first quarter. Within the first five minutes, it was over for the most part.

"You can't make mistakes against this type of team. We gave them 22 points off of turnovers in the first half. It is unfortunate that happened in front of tonight's crowd. I was embarrassed for our fans."

Mario Chalmers scored a season-high 34 points to lead the Heat to one of its easiest wins of the season. Chalmers made 10 of 13 3-pointers as the Kings were incapable of covering the penetrations and perimeter shooting on the same possession. Chalmers scored 13 points in the first quarter to help the Heat get off to its quick start.

Six members of the Heat scored in double-figures, including LeBron James, who scored 20 points, had five rebounds, seven assists and five steals. Miami set season highs in points, 3-pointers made and attempted, and assists.

Miami never was pushed at either end of the floor during one of the Kings' worst performances of the season.

Kings guard Isaiah Thomas scored a career-high 34 points and made six of eight 3-pointers.

Thomas said his spectacular night didn't mean much.

"My teammates were finding me," he said. "I was just knocking down shots. It's irrelevant -- career highs and points and all that -- when you lose like we did."

Thomas summed up the frustration of playing the Heat when it knocks down shots.

"You've got to pick your poison," Thomas said. "You've either got to want to stop LeBron and Dwayne Wade or give up something. They capitalized on what we were trying to give up. We were trying to pack the paint and guys were making shots. They definitely are the hardest team to beat when they make shots like that."

The play of the game came on a reverse alley-oop dunk by James off a pass from Wade.

Miami's dominance showed statistically in its 35 assist-to-10 turnover ratio.

The Kings have lost by more than 20 points in two of their past three home games.

NOTES: LeBron James entered Saturday night's game just 70 points shy of scoring his 20,000th career point. James is 28 years and 13 days old. Kobe Bryant is the fastest player to 20,000 points at 29 years and 122 days. ... Miami entered the game having held its past three opponents to below 40 percent field-goal shooting. Conversely, the Kings had allowed an average of 114.3 points per game in their past three. ... Second-year Kings guard Jimmer Fredette entered the game with a 90.8 free-throw shooting percentage, which ranks him second behind former Kings (now Oklahoma City) guard Kevin Martin. Kings coach Keith Smart said the team either hears from the league or calls the NBA when there is possibility of suspension, such as regarding DeMarcus Cousins' flagrant foul II in Thursday's loss to Dallas. "We called them (Saturday) because we wanted to know. You know, it's a first-to-the-worm thing."

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