DALLAS -- Miami-Dallas isn't the rivalry it once was.
Less than two years removed from a clash in the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks have gone separate ways. The Heat's 110-95 runaway Thursday night at American Airlines Center was just the latest example.
LeBron James had it going early as Miami (17-6) coasted to its third straight regular-season win over the Mavericks since the 2011 Finals. The defending champions led by 14 in the first quarter and never looked back.
"We wanted to come out and dominate and play at a high level," James said. "We've been playing some good ball, especially defensively as of late, and we wanted to keep that going."
James hit his first six shots on his way to 24 points in 31 minutes. The two-time reigning MVP added nine rebounds and five assists. Dwyane Wade scored 19, and Dallas native Chris Bosh chipped in 17 for Miami. Shane Battier had 13 off the Heat bench.
The Heat knocked down 54 percent of their shots from the floor, drilling 10 3-pointers along the way.
Dallas (12-14) lost for the fourth time in six games. The Mavericks are eagerly awaiting the return of Dirk Nowitzki, who has resumed practicing and hopes to play sometime after Christmas.
Dallas could sure use its franchise player with a murderous schedule ahead in deep Western Conference. The lack of firepower against the Heat was obvious, especially with leading scorer O.J. Mayo suffering through a terrible outing.
Mayo, averaging 20.6 points, scored just eight on 3-of-14 shooting. None of the Dallas starters scored more than 12; reserve Jae Crowder scored a team-high 15. The Mavericks needed a late burst just to get to 38.5 percent shooting.
"They were making tough shots when we weren't," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "Then we had more poor breakdowns as the game went on. It was very disappointing on how we played, but we'll have to forget it quickly because we have another tough one tomorrow (at Memphis)."
James said of his team's hot shooting, "That's what we want to get back to. That's our staple. We understand that when we defend and rebound, we're a very good team because offensively we always shoot at a high clip, for the most part. We're very efficient, so if defensively we can keep teams under their averages, we have great chance to win."
The Mavericks lost for the first time against an Eastern Conference opponent in seven tries this season. It wasn't close for a Dallas team that's also missing Derek Fisher (right patellar tendon strain), Elton Brand (right groin strain) and Brandan Wright (right ankle sprain).
"We are playing a random game right now because of our personnel situation," Carlisle said. "It's how we're set up. We aren't running a lot of plays designed for O.J."
The Heat's lead surpassed 30 in the third quarter. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra substituted liberally in the second half, as James and Wade made just token appearances in the fourth quarter.
Miami took it to the Mavs early, with James scoring at will from deep and at the basket. The Heat opened up a 27-13 lead nine minutes into the game with James singlehandedly matching Dallas' offensive output.
The Mavericks cut into the double-digit deficit briefly in the second quarter, only to watch James and Wade quickly get the lead past 10. Miami went into halftime up 58-42 behind 16 points from James and 11 from Bosh.
The Heat shot 58 percent in the first half, while Dallas struggled to hit 33 percent. Mayo missed seven of eight shots before the break, including all three of his 3-point attempts.
Miami believes its convincing win at Dallas could be a jumping-off point heading into the new year.
"We have two more games at home, ending with the Christmas game against Oklahoma City," Spoelstra said. "From that point on, we have 12 out of 17 games on the road. The guys are aware of it. It eventually catches up to you, but that's where you build camaraderie, the toughness, the resolve of being on the road for a long time together.
"Yes, we did want to take on that challenge of being on the road and we are looking forward to that stretch after Christmas as well."