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LeBron, Wade overwhelm Nets again

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- The warm January weather hit Brooklyn earlier in the day, followed by a Heat wave that LeBron James and his Miami teammates provided before a sellout crowd of 17,732 on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center.

James collected 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists and Dwyane Wade hit for 21 points as Miami knocked off the Nets for the third time this season, 105-85.

After a productive second quarter pulled the Nets even at 49-49 heading into the break, James and Wade turned up the heat in the third quarter as Miami forced eight turnovers and outscored the home team 36-14.

"I let (LeBron) do his thing," said Wade, who has scored 77 points in the three games against the Nets. "I know he is un-guardable. If he is excited and has a good feeling about the game, then I know it will be a very good night. He makes everyone else have opportunities and he did a good job of setting the tone."

The loss snapped an eight-game home winning streak for Brooklyn and extended the Heat's streak of victories over the Nets to 13 in a row. It also marked the seventh straight time Miami (29-13) has topped the Nets (27-19) on the road.

Brook Lopez, named to the All-Star team as an injury replacement before the game, led the Nets with 21 points and seven rebounds.

James had nine points, four rebounds and three assists in the first quarter when Miami moved to a 30-20 lead.

Reserve center Andray Blatche came off the bench to spark the Nets in the second quarter. Blatche, who came into the game averaging 4.1 points, scored 10 points on 5-for-5 shooting as the Nets pulled even at 49-49 before the break. Blatche also had two rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot.

Meanwhile, James was scoreless in the period for Miami, including two missed free throws with 2:10 left.

The Nets closed out the half with a 14-3 run, led by Lopez, who scored eight points in the spurt. A Chris Bosh dunk off a pass from James made it 49-47 for the Heat before Deron Williams hit a jumper from the top of the key with 2.3 seconds to go.

"We had too many turnovers in the first half and we let them get back in the game," Wade said.

James made up for his quiet second quarter in the third. The Heat reeled off 15 straight points, highlighted by a two-handed dunk by James, followed by his 3-pointer before Bosh's jumper gave the Heat a 73-57 lead.

"We're playing at a high level and we showed tonight what we're capable of," James said. "We've been a good team in the third quarter. We were very explosive today. We came out defending and we didn't turn the ball over. We had an extra bounce in our step."

Mario Chalmers came up with an unusual play for Miami in the third when he grabbed a rebound after he was knocked to a sitting position in the lane. He quickly passed the ball out to Wade who finished the play with a jumper and a 75-60 bulge.

Ray Allen's 3-pointer handed the Heat an 85-63 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

"We were right there for the first 30 minutes of the game and they made a run and we didn't respond," Lopez said. "I think we were just disappointed in ourselves. We really just let this one get away. We felt we were playing great ball up until about midway through the third quarter. They got going and we didn't really respond."

NOTES: Lopez was selected an Eastern Conference All-Star before the game by NBA commissioner David Stern. Lopez, making his first All-Star team, replaces Boston's Rajon Rondo, who has a season-ending knee injury. "It's a huge honor," Lopez said in tweets released by the Nets. "First and foremost, I couldn't have done it without my teammates." Lopez is the top-scoring center in the league, and he is the lone player in the NBA averaging at least 18 points, seven boards and two blocks per game. ... When asked if the appearance of Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov at the game might lead to having his interim status upgraded to permanent head coach, P.J. Carlesimo quipped: "I don't think he was sitting in Moscow the other day saying, 'You know, I have to go see P.J.' I think Miami and Chicago (Friday's opponent) had something to do with it." ... Williams, questionable before the game because he is suffering from the flu, started for the Nets. ... The Heat won both earlier meetings with the Nets, both in Miami, led by Wade, who scored a total of 56 points in those two games. Wade had 22 points in a 103-73 rout on Nov. 11 and dropped in 34 on Dec. 1 in a 102-89 triumph. The Nets committed 19 turnovers in each of their three losses to Miami this season.
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