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James triple-double sparks Heat rout of 76ers

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- The Miami Heat entered the All-Star break as one of the hottest teams in the NBA.

They're still sizzling following the break.

The Heat won their 10th straight game following a resounding 114-90 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night before an announced sellout crowd of 20,665 at the Wells Fargo Center.

The NBA defending champion Heat appear primed for another run at a championship. The Southeast Division-leading Heat (39-14) pulled away in the third quarter and improved to 16-11 on the road.

Dwyane Wade paced the Heat with 33 points on 14-for-18 shooting while LeBron James played a stellar all-around game with 16 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. James registered his 35th career triple-double and his seventh since joining the Heat.

It was James' third triple-double this season and this one came in just 31 minutes, 30 seconds. His elusive 10th rebound came early in the fourth quarter and he watched the majority of the game from the bench as his team cruised to another victory.

"I was going to stay out there until I got it," James said. "I wasn't going to let this one slip away. I've had too many games where I was one assist, one rebound away. I wasn't coming out."

Mario Chalmers scored 14 points, Chris Bosh chipped in 13, while Ray Allen and Norris Cole had 12 each.

The Heat improved to 10-1 in February and won their 12th straight regular season game against the Sixers.

"I think we're better than last season because we understand each other a lot more," Bosh said. "Everyone is coming together as a team and we feel comfortable with each other. I think we're starting to play like we know we're capable of playing. It's shown in this win streak.

"Even with the (all-star) break, we've continued to play well. I think if we keep playing at this type of level, the sky is the limit for us."

The reeling Sixers (22-31) dropped their fourth in a row. They began the night 3 1/2 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

But the No. 8 seed in the East will likely face the Heat in the first round.

"That team is big-time good," Sixers coach Doug Collins said of the Heat. "They're a great, great team. I don't see any weaknesses."

Jrue Holiday led the Sixers with 21 points, one of four players in double figures. Nick Young scored 19 points, Dorell Wright contributed 17 and Evan Turner had 16.

But it was far from enough and the Sixers dipped to 16-14 at home.

"We got careless in the second half," Collins said. "We started dribbling too much."

The Heat took a 56-47 lead into halftime. James had five points, five rebounds and six assists, and the Sixers had no answer for Wade, who knocked down four of his five shots from the field in the first quarter.

Wade continued his hot shooting in the second, also going 4 of 5. He wound up with a team-best 17 points at halftime and received plenty of support from his teammates. Bosh and Chalmers had nine points apiece.

Shane Battier hit consecutive 3-pointers late in the first half, extending Miami's lead to 45-39.

Young kept the Sixers close with some torrid shooting. Young connected on his first five shots and had 14 points by halftime. It was the 10th straight start and the 14th overall for Young. Entering the game, Young was averaging 15 points as a starter.

Holiday had 13 points and four assists for Philadelphia at halftime.

"In the first half, we did a lot of things well," Holiday said. "We have to sustain that for 48 minutes."

NOTES: Sixers center Andrew Bynum practiced last Friday for the first time this season. He has yet to play a game for the Sixers, though, because of bilateral knee bone bruises. "He looked like a guy who hadn't played in nine months," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "I don't think any bells and whistles should be sent off that he's close to playing." ... Heat guard Mike Miller is still dealing with sinus and ear infections and didn't join his teammates in Philadelphia. ... Sixers forward Thaddeus Young missed his sixth straight game with a strained left hamstring. ... The Heat have blocked at least one shot in 410 consecutive games, extending the longest streak in franchise history. ... Holiday has 14 double-doubles, including one triple-double, this season. He had just one double-double last season.

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