James leads Heat past Wizards 99-71

James leads Heat past Wizards 99-71
January 6, 2013, 8:45 pm
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MIAMI (AP) -- LeBron James scored 24 points and the Miami Heat had a rebounding edge for a change Sunday to beat the woeful Washington Wizards 99-71.

The Heat, beaten on the boards by a total of 38 rebounds over the previous three games, this time enjoyed a 50-39 advantage. Udonis Haslem led them with 12 rebounds, and Chris Bosh had nine.

The game matched the teams with the best and worst records in the Eastern Conference, and in the late going it looked like it. Miami scored the game's final 21 points and held Washington scoreless over the last 7:07.

James extended his streaks of scoring at least 20 points to 32 consecutive games this season, and 53 in a row including last year's playoff run. He shot 9 for 17 and had seven assists.

The Heat were coming off only their third home loss of the season Friday against Chicago.

The Wizards (4-28), last in the NBA in points and shooting, clanked a succession of open shots and hit 36 only percent. They lost their fifth game in a row and fell to 0-13 on the road against Eastern Conference teams.

Jordan Crawford, who leads Washington in scoring this season, went 1 for 7 and was held to two points. Kevin Seraphin led the Wizards with 14 points off the bench.

Bosh sparked a fast start by Miami. He finished with 17 points and a season-high four blocks. Ray Allen scored 20 off the bench and helped the Heat pull away in the fourth quarter.

The Heat made their first seven shots to go ahead 15-6, and they led the rest of the way. The Wizards cut the margin to 78-71 midway through the fourth quarter but didn't score again.

Allen made two 3-pointers and a three-point play down the stretch. He finished 8 for 12, while the Wizards missed their final eight shots.

NOTES: The crowd included New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, seated in the front row at midcourt next to Heat owner Micky Arison. ... The Heat begin a six-game trip Tuesday at Indiana, where they're 9-35. ... The Heat had their best start shooting since Dec. 27, 2009 against the Pacers, when they made their first eight shots. ... Even with the loss, the Wizards are 3-3 against Miami over the past two seasons. ... Billy the Marlin drew scattered boos when he made an appearance to help celebrate Heat mascot Burnie's birthday. Fans are unhappy about the team's recent payroll purge.