James Scores 35 As Heat Beat Raptors 104-95
TORONTO (AP) — LeBron James reached his latest milestone in signature style.
James scored a season-high 35 points, Dwyane Wade had 20 and the Miami Heat beat the Toronto Raptors 104-95 on Tuesday for their first road victory in three tries this season.
Ray Allen scored 14 points for Miami, which lost at Philadelphia on Oct. 30 and was beaten 101-100 at Brooklyn on Nov. 1.
James also had a season-high eight rebounds and handed out eight assists as Miami topped 100 points for the fifth straight game, extending their team-record run to begin the season.
With a putback dunk at 2:31 of the first quarter, James became the fifth player in NBA history to score 10 points or more in 500 consecutive games.
“When I see a stat like that, I’m like ‘Wow,’ because I know the history of the game, I know the guys who paved the way for myself and my teammates,” James said. “To be in such a great class like that, it’s an amazing feeling.”
James said he was humbled to join Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (with streaks of 787 and 508 games), Michael Jordan (866), Karl Malone (575) and Moses Malone (526) as the only players to accomplish the feat.
“That’s apt company,” teammate Shane Battier said.
It was the 162nd time during the streak that James has reached 10 points in the opening quarter.
“I just go out and play every night and those are the results,” he said.
James has reached double figures in every game since being held to eight points at Milwaukee on Jan. 5, 2007. He scored 19 at New Jersey the following night.
“In practice, during shootaround and during games, he’s a consistent player, period,” Wade said. “I’m not surprised by that. Just more surprised at how he’s been able to keep himself out there on the floor.”
Calling James “one of a kind,” Battier praised the four-time MVP for his tireless conditioning work.
“You don’t really see the work he puts in, not only on his game but his body, to keep himself at the highest level in the world, really,” Battier said. “It takes amazing dedication and resolve. That’s partly why LeBron is LeBron, that’s why he’s great, because he has that resolve to stay at a high level.”
James has more regular-season games of scoring at least 50 points (nine) than nights where he’s scored less than 10 (eight). Factor playoff games into the mix, and he’s reached double figures 898 times in 907 career games.
“That’s not something that any average player can do,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Part of his greatness is consistency. Night in, night out, you know what to expect.”
The Heat have won 12 straight against the Raptors since a 111-103 road loss on Jan. 27, 2010, when Miami forward Chris Bosh played for Toronto.
DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 21 points while Jonas Valanciunas had 18. Rudy Gay had 13 points and 10 rebounds for his second straight double-double.
Leading 78-74, Miami took control by opening the fourth with a 12-0 run as Toronto went scoreless for the first 4:28, a drought that ended when Tyler Hansbrough converted a pair of free throws.
The Raptors made nine of their 15 turnovers in the fourth, including eight in nine possessions to start the quarter.
“Those turnovers in that one stretch broke our back,” coach Dwane Casey said.
Bosh was unavailable following the birth Monday of his daughter, Dylan Skye Bosh. Battier started in place of Bosh, who is expected to return when the Heat host the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday.
“We knew we didn’t have our guy,” Wade said. “Myself and LeBron wanted to be a little bit more aggressive.”
With Bosh out, Toronto took advantage of Miami’s small lineup early. Valanciunas had 10 points midway through the first as the Raptors opened a 17-8 lead.
After a Heat timeout, James scored four straight baskets as Miami cut the gap to 25-23 after one quarter.
Toronto led 45-34 after Valanciunas made a hook shot at 4:56 of the second, but James scored seven points as the Heat closed the half on a 18-5 run to take a 52-50 lead. Mario Chalmers hit a 3 with less than a second left, giving Miami the lead for the first time.
Wade scored 10 points in the third and James had eight as the Heat took a four-point lead into the final quarter.
NOTES: Raptors F Steve Novak (back) was inactive. … Spoelstra said the ongoing Dolphins harassment case shows coaches need to be aware of what’s going on in their locker rooms. “I’ll tell you, it’s certainly something we all have to be aware of now,” Spoelstra said before the game. “You don’t want to take it for granted.” … The Raptors host Miami twice in November — the second game is Nov. 29. Toronto visits South Florida on Jan. 5.
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