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Heat scorch Nets as LeBron James returns


Miami Heat forward LeBron James drives for a layup over New Jersey Nets forward Kris Humphries (43) in the fourth quarter of their NBA basketball game in Newark, New Jersey, January 7, 2012. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine

NEWARK, New Jersey—LeBron James returned to the Miami lineup and scored 22 of his 32 points in the first quarter, setting up the Heat’s 101-90 victory over the New Jersey Nets in the NBA on Saturday despite still being without Dwyane Wade.

Wade missed his third straight game with a bruised left foot, but James had the game under control by the time his All-Star teammate arrived at his seat on the bench.

James made his first seven shots and showed no effects from the sprained left ankle that forced him to miss a game. The NBA’s leading scorer added nine assists and seven rebounds.

Chris Bosh added 16 points after a slow start as the Heat won their third straight and ran the NBA’s best record to 8-1.

Kris Humphries tied a career high with 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Nets, who shot just 33.7 percent.

In Dallas, Vince Carter and Ian Mahinmi had 13 points each as Dallas handed New Orleans its sixth consecutive loss, 96-81.

Carter and Mahinmi led a balanced scoring attack for the Mavericks, who won their fourth straight at home and had six players scoring in double figures.

Al-Farouq Aminu had 15 points and 12 rebounds to lead New Orleans, which was without three players who are in its regular rotation. Jason Smith missed the game after the death of his grandmother. Guard Eric Gordon (bruised right knee) and forward Trevor Ariza (groin strain) were also out.

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Amare Stoudemire scored 22 points to lead New York to an easy 103-80 win over Detroit.

Mike Bibby added 16 for the Knicks, who led 64-42 at halftime and by 29 after three. Bibby has scored 27 points over his past two games after scoring just seven through New York’s first six.

Brandon Knight led the Pistons with 19 points.

Detroit guard Rodney Stuckey sat out with a groin injury, and the Pistons were also without forwards Austin Daye and Charlie Villanueva, who had sore ankles.

In Houston, Kevin Durant hit a jumper with 22 seconds left and nailed two free throws to give Oklahoma City a win over Houston, 98-85.

Durant finished with 27 points and six rebounds, while Russell Westbrook added 25 points and six assists for the Thunder.

Luis Scola had a season-high 28 points and seven rebounds for the Rockets, who have lost four straight games.

OTHER RESULTS: Hawks 109, Bulls 94; Spurs 121, Nuggets 117; Clippers 92, Bucks 86; Sixers 97, Raptors 62; Jazz 88, Warriors 87; Pacers 99, Bobcats 77.


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