- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 19, 2014

DALLAS (AP) - LeBron James drove for an emphatic dunk during a decisive fourth-quarter run and went skipping to the bench after a Dallas timeout.

The Miami star has sure had fun against his old nemesis this season.

James scored a season-high 42 points and the Heat tuned up for a showdown with Oklahoma City by beating the Mavericks 117-106 Tuesday night.

The 10-time All-Star was nearly impossible to stop in the first game after the break, topping his previous season high of 39 points in a win over Dallas in Miami in November.

This victory completed Miami’s third straight season sweep of the Mavericks - six consecutive wins - since losing to them in the 2011 NBA Finals, James‘ first season after his celebrated signing with the Heat.

“He is great and we know he is great,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “He scored a bundle of points on us last time and he was even better tonight.”

James scored the first eight points and 10 overall in a 14-0 run that put the Heat up 106-95 after they trailed by one entering the fourth quarter.

Miami came out of the All-Star break by winning for the sixth time in seven games heading into James‘ duel with Kevin Durant on Thursday night in Oklahoma City. It’s the last game of the Heat’s second six-game road trip, a season high.

“I’m still tired,” said James, who had 22 points in 33 minutes in Sunday’s All-Star game. “But when I’m on the court, I’ve got to try to make things happen.”

Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points to lead the Mavericks, who couldn’t follow up a win at Indiana, the other top team in the Eastern Conference, in their final game before the break.

The deciding run started when James, who also had nine rebounds and six assists, stole a pass from Shawn Marion in the backcourt and pulled up for a tying 3-pointer.

After hitting another 3 over Marion to put Miami ahead for good, James drove for a dunk following Mario Chalmers’ steal of a pass from Devin Harris. James made four of eight from long range after getting warmed up with a couple of dunks in the first quarter.

“When we turned it over, he was gone,” Marion said. “After his fourth open-court dunk, the basket started feeling a little bit bigger for him. He just started taking pull-up 3s.”

The Mavericks, who are in a tight battle with four teams for the final three playoff spots in the West, went without a field goal for 6 minutes after a four-point play by Vince Carter, who scored 15.

Dallas missed seven shots and had three turnovers while Miami pulled away.

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