Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/21/12
DALLAS -- This isn't the rivalry it once was. Less than two years removed from clash in the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks have gone separate ways. The Heat's 110-95 runaway Thursday night victory at American Airlines Center was just the latest example. LeBron James had it going early as Miami coasted to its third consecutive regular-season win over the Mavericks since the 2011 Finals. The defending champions led by 14 in the first quarter and never looked back in improving to 17-6. James hit his first six shots on his way to 24 points in 31 minutes. The two-time reigning MVP added nine rebounds and five assists. Dwyane Wade scored 19 and Dallas native Chris Bosh chipped in 17. Shane Battier had 13 off the bench. The Heat knocked down 54 percent from the floor, drilling 10 3-pointers along the way. Dallas (12-14) lost for the fourth time in the last six games. The Mavericks are eagerly awaiting the comeback of Dirk Nowitzki, who has returned to practice and hopes to play sometime after Christmas. Dallas can sure use its franchise player with a murderous schedule ahead in deep Western Conference. The lack of firepower against the Heat was obvious, especially with leading scorer O.J. Mayo suffering through a terrible outing. Mayo, averaging 20.6 points, scored eight points on 3-of-14 shooting. None of the Dallas starters scored more than 11. The Mavericks also lost for the first time against an Eastern Conference opponent in seven tries this season. The Heat's lead surpassed 30 in the third quarter. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra substituted liberally in the second half, as James and Wade made token appearances in the fourth quarter. Miami took it to the Mavs early, with James scoring at will from deep and at the basket. Miami opened up a 27-13 lead nine minutes into the game with James single-handedly matching Dallas' offensive output. The Mavericks cut into the double-digit deficit briefly in the second quarter only to watch James and Wade quickly get the lead past 10. Miami went into halftime up 58-42 behind 16 points from James and 11 from Bosh. The Heat shot 58 percent in the first half, while Dallas struggled to hit 33 percent. Mayo missed 7 of 8 shots, including all three of his 3-point attempts, by the break. NOTES: Mavericks guard Derek Fisher missed the game, and he won't travel with the team on the upcoming trip to Memphis and San Antonio. Fisher suffered a right patellar tendon strain in Tuesday's win over the Philadelphia 76ers. There is no timetable set for his return, and he will be re-evaluated next week. ... Elton Brand (right groin strain) and Brandan Wright (right ankle sprain) were also out for Dallas. ... The Heat have won three straight against Dallas since the 2011 NBA Finals. Miami hasn't won three consecutive in the series since running off 16 in a row from 1992-99.
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