Leave it to LeBron
PHOENIX SUNS 97
MIAMI HEAT 103
Coming off Sunday's 4-for-13 shooting night and a loss to Utah Jazz and, with guard Dwyane Wade sidelined by a migraine headache, Miami Heat forward LeBron James had plenty of reasons to take matters into his own hands yesterday morning (Singapore time).
The rising young Phoenix Suns had to bear the brunt of his rebuttal.
James (above, in black) had 25 of his game-high 37 points in the second half and 11 in the final four minutes, collected five of Miami's 12 steals and finished several off with thunderous slams as the Heat shook off the pesky Suns 103-97.
"The energy and effort we had defensively was key," James said after the Heat turned 16 Phoenix turnovers into 24 points.
"We had 12 steals and, when we're active like that, we're a pretty good team.
"I like to be able to anticipate plays. Seeing the pass before it happens and shooting the gap.
"I've been doing it throughout my career. I'm feeling really good right now.
"My legs are starting coming back to me. My shoulder and my knee are all feeling better. I'm able to get out on the break much faster."
Miami beat Phoenix eight straight times and James had averaged 32 points in those wins, including 35- and 37-point efforts in this season's sweep.
The Heat won six straight at US Airways Center, where a season-high crowd of 17,927 cheered for the Suns but thoroughly enjoyed their annual opportunity to see James.
Centre Chris Bosh added 21 points, including a big three-pointer with 40.3 seconds for the Heat, who played short-handed when Wade was forced to stay at the team hotel with a migraine that began early in the afternoon.
But there was a statement to be made after the 94-89 loss to the Jazz.
"It was good to see us respond, and that started at practice (Monday)," Miami coach Eric Spoelstra said.
"There wasn't any dancing around it, we were flat and we didn't bring a game necessary to win on the road. But the approach (Monday) and today at the shoot-around was very focused and business-like. That's how we came away with a gritty win against a team that have been playing well."
Guard Gerald Green had 26 points, including five three-pointers for the Suns, who raced out to a 12-0 but had lost most of that stagger by the end of the quarter.
Guard Goran Dragic had 15 points - snapping a string of seven straight 20-point games - and forward Channing Frye added 15 for the Suns. - Reuters.
l Charlotte Bobcats 114 Dallas Mavericks 89
l Cleveland Cavaliers 109 Sacramento Kings 99
l Chicago Bulls 100 Atlanta Hawks 85
l Memphis Grizzlies 92 Washington Wizards 89
l Portland Trazil Blazers 95 Oklahoma City Thunder 98
l LA Lakers 79 Utah Jazz 96 NBA
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