LeBron James and Dwyane Wade each scored 22 points, Mike Miller added 14 off the bench and the Miami Heat shook off a slow start to run away from the New Orleans Hornets 109-95 on Monday night.
James added 11 rebounds and eight assists for Miami, which won for the eighth time in nine games and ended up with six players in double figures. Chris Bosh and Norris Cole each scored 12 for the Heat, and Mario Chalmers added 11.
Miami was down 45-33 midway through the second quarter, then outscored New Orleans 76-50 the rest of the way.
Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry each scored 14 for New Orleans, which lost for the 17th time in 19 games after a 2-0 start. Emeka Okafor scored 13 points and Greivis Vasquez added 11 for the Hornets, who only managed 25 rebounds — the lowest total in the NBA this season. Miami had 39 rebounds, and James had more by himself than any two Hornets combined.
There were all sorts of indicators suggesting that Miami would get off to a less-than-ideal start.
It was Miami's third game in four nights, though all were at home. Monday's tip-off came about 24 hours after Sunday's down-to-the-wire epic against Chicago, where the Heat win wasn't secure until 0.1 seconds remained. And the second night of back-to-backs have been trouble all season for Miami, which had been 3-3 in those contests — including both of its home defeats, those coming against Atlanta and Milwaukee.
So sure enough, the Heat started slowly — and found themselves in a 12-point hole against a team with the worst record in the Western Conference.
New Orleans made 10 of its first 11 shots, then used a 16-6 run in the second quarter to build what was a 45-33 lead after Xavier Henry connected on a 3-pointer. With that, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra called time-out.
Whatever he said in that huddle worked wonders.
When play resumed, Wade got going, and the game changed for good. Wade scored 11 straight Miami points to erase the deficit almost single-handedly — 13 out of 15 points as well, assisting a basket by James to account for the other two — and the Heat went into halftime up 51-49.
They were just getting started.
Less than a minute into the third quarter, Hornets coach Monty Williams was calling time-out, sensing the game was slipping away.
And it was.
Miami scored the first nine points of the third, stretching the lead to 60-49 and capping what was a 27-4 run over a span of less than eight minutes. James scored 14 points in the quarter, Chalmers made all three of his shots — all from 3-point range — and the Miami lead was up to 87-68 by the end of the period.
By then, the only drama left was whether James would get his 33rd career triple-double. Instead, he got the fourth quarter off.
Notes: Justin Bieber, who has been the subject of more than a few tweets posted by Heat owner Micky Arison, was in attendance. ... Williams had high praise for the Heat before the game, especially Spoelstra. "Spo doesn't get enough credit in my opinion for the ability to coach talent, supreme talent, every night," Williams said. ... Miller — no stranger to injury problems in his Heat tenure — was grabbing at his right hand late in the first quarter and grimacing in pain, but stayed in the game. ... James became the 17th player in NBA history with 17,000 points, 4,500 rebounds and 4,500 assists. Of the first 16, 13 are Hall of Famers already, the others being Gary Payton, Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant, all sure-fire Hall entrants one day.