James scores 23, Heat easily beat Wizards 102-72

James scores 23, Heat easily beat Wizards 102-72
December 15, 2012, 9:55 pm
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Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal, right, prepares to shoot over Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Saturday, Dec 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

(APWF)

MIAMI (AP) LeBron James had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and the Miami Heat never trailed on the way to beating the Washington Wizards 102-72 on Saturday night.

Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade each scored 13 for Miami, which outscored Washington 29-10 in the third quarter to build a 33-point lead. James had 16 points alone in the third, ensuring he would finish with at least 20 points for the 26th straight regular-season game and 42nd consecutive game overall dating to last season.

Chris Bosh added 12 points for the Heat, who turned 21 turnovers into 30 points.

Bradley Beal scored 19 points and Cartier Martin added 18 for the Wizards, who beat the Heat 105-101 in Washington on Dec. 4.

This one went much differently.

Consider: By halftime, Miami already had 50 points. Through three quarters, Washington still only had 46.

It was an emotional day in Miami, as it has been at just about every U.S. sports venue since the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. on Friday sent shock waves across the country. Several Heat players and coach Erik Spoelstra spoke about how the massacre that left 20 children and six adults dead at an elementary school affected them, and before tipoff on Saturday, Miami held a moment of silence.

It had an added twist: Several Heat players brought their children onto the court for that moment, with Bosh holding his son Jackson to his chest.

Once the game started, Miami was all business.

Miami held Washington to 29 percent from the field in the opening quarter, ran out to a quick 16-point lead and never yielded control. Jordan Crawford made a 3-pointer for the Wizards early in the second to cut the Miami lead to 28-22, but after that, it was all Heat.

By halftime, it was 50-36, and Wade set James up for an easy basket with 4:35 left in the third to push the Heat margin to 69-40. After that, the only drama remaining revolved around whether James would extend his streak of 20-point games, with everyone in the building knowing that he would be sitting out the entire fourth quarter of the runaway game.

He got there, and then some.

James went on a personal 8-0 run to end the third, finishing his night with a flourish. A turnaround jumper with 1:56 left in the third started the end-of-quarter flurry, followed by a pull-up jumper on the next possession to give him 19 points.

And when Ray Allen controlled a Norris Cole-versus-Beal jump ball, he flung it down court to James, who collected the pass and made a layup to pass that 20-point plateau once again. For good measure, James made one more 17-footer late in the quarter, going to the bench for good when the period ended.

NOTES: Former Heat C Shaquille O'Neal sat courtside, shaking hands with several players during the first half. World No. 1 golfer Rory McIlroy also was in attendance. ... Haslem, Bosh and Wade combined to shoot 16 for 22. ... The Heat, whose biggest lead in Washington was only five, led by as many as 35 on Saturday. ... Washington fell to 1-10 on the road.