7:30 PM ET, December 20, 2013
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
James was driving to the rim in the first quarter and McLemore decided to try to take the charge, which was quite admirable and predictably futile.
James' knee was at roughly the same height as McLemore's chin as he dunked the ball, the most spectacular of the 51 often-easy baskets the Heat got while rolling past the Kings 122-103 on Friday night.
AP Photo/El Nuevo Herald/David Santiago
LeBron James fueled the Heat's victory Friday night with this highlight dunk in the first quarter over Kings rookie Ben McLemore.
"Sucks that it was him, too," James said. "I like him. I've been talking to him since he was in high school."
Now they have something else to talk about. McLemore ended up on his back, the Heat bench went into hysterics, and it was just one example of how even the right play wasn't going to be enough for the Kings.
They shot 58 percent -- and lost by 19 points. Shooting that well and losing by that much simply doesn't happen in the NBA, or at least, hadn't happened since April 5, 1986, when Phoenix shot 61 percent and lost to Sacramento 119-100.
"Every day in practice, every shootaround, every team meeting, every film session, all we talk about is our defense and obviously the message isn't getting through," Kings coach Michael Malone said. "They're not accepting it. They're not willing to accept it. I'm not sure what the problem is, but I have to find five guys (Saturday) night starting in Orlando who are willing to compete on the defensive end of the floor."
The Heat set a season high for points and flirted with a franchise record for shooting, finishing at 61 percent.
Chris Bosh scored 25 points, Dwyane Wade added 20 and James had 18 points, eight assists and six rebounds while sitting out the fourth quarter for Miami, which has won four straight overall and 18 of its last 19 against the Kings. Ray Allen added 18 and Mario Chalmers scored 16 for the Heat.
"I think we're picking and choosing our spots pretty good right now," Bosh said. "We're doing a really good job of seeing where we can be aggressive and it's working out. If we can continue to pick and choose our spots, keep moving the ball like normal, then things will work out."
DeMarcus Cousins led Sacramento with 27 points and eight rebounds in 32 minutes. McLemore scored 20 and Rudy Gay added 14 for Sacramento, which has now dropped the first three games of its four-game trip.
"It's a great learning experience for me as a rookie going out there and playing the great wings out there," McLemore said. "D-Wade especially and Ray Allen, a great shooter, and especially LeBron, it was a great challenge for me."
Of James' dunk, McLemore said he was just trying to draw a charge.
"Just knowing LeBron, I knew they weren't going to call that," he said, according to The Palm Beach Post. "I was just playing my defensive principles- going in, being the low man and taking the charge. Even though they didn't call it, I didn't let that stop me or mess my game up. I still went out there and did some things to help the team.
"I really don't know what happened over there. I was just doing my defensive principles on the weakside low man. I just went over there to try to take the charge. He dunked the ball. Afterwards, I thought I should have fouled him."
Miami has now won 18 straight games over Western Conference opponents, two away from matching the longest regular-season streak ever posted by an Eastern Conference team. Boston won 20 straight over the West during a nine-month span of 1973.
Bosh had 12 points midway through the opening period, the Kings scored more points in the first quarter (36) than anyone had against the Heat since March 2011 and Miami had seven dunks in the first 15 minutes -- two of them by Allen, who entered the season with exactly zero slams and had not dunked twice in the same game since February 2011.
The Heat had 29 baskets in the first half; 21 were either dunks, layups or tip-ins. There were 10 ties and nine lead changes in the half, one where no team ever led by more than seven.
By halftime, it was 67-61 Miami. The Kings shot 66.7 percent in the half and were actually trailing, a somewhat odd and difficult feat.
Bosh, James, Wade and Shane Battier combined for 22 points on 9 for 14 shooting and Miami outscored Sacramento 31-21 in the third, building a 98-82 edge to take into the fourth. The Kings had five turnovers in that quarter, and Miami turned them into 11 points.
"Just taking care of business," Wade said.
The games on Christmas Day will have teams wearing short-sleeved jerseys, which is getting mixed reviews in the Heat locker room. "I haven't actually worked out in them too much. I know my shooters are already upset," James said. ... Wade has 24, 27, 32 and 20 points in his last four games, all Heat wins. ... Cousins shot 11 for 15 for the Kings, adding to his strong start this season. ... Sacramento gave the Heat 32 points off turnovers and was outscored 70-60 in the paint.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 20: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat dunks against the Sacramento Kings on December 20, 2013...(Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Next 5 Games
The Heat have now won each of their last 10 games against the Kings, while scoring 100 or more points in each game. That's the 2nd-longest active streak in the NBA. The only streak longer is the Hawks' streak of 12 games ... also against the Kings.[+]
Longest Winning Streaks vs Opponent - While Scoring 100+ Points
The Kings shot 58.1% from the field and lost by 19 to the Heat... The last time a team shot that well and lost by that much was 1986. The Suns shot 61.1% in a 119-100 loss to... the Kings.
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