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James, Heat top Nets to end brief skid

LeBron James had 21 points, nine rebounds and six 78 win over the Nets.

Chris Bosh returned from a three-game absence and finished with 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting. The Heat shot 58.4 percent, made 10-of-17 three-pointers and handed out 30 assists to halt just their second two-game losing streak of the season.

"We missed him," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said of Bosh. "I'm glad he got a chance to come back and get his rhythm back. He played well tonight."

Miami guard Dwyane Wade tweaked his ankle late in the second quarter and sat out the remainder of the contest.

Deron Williams, who scored a franchise-record 57 points in Sunday's win over Charlotte, had 16 to pace New Jersey on Tuesday. Center Brook Lopez was out with a right ankle sprain, which he suffered against the Bobcats. He is expected to miss three weeks.

The Nets' largest lead of the game was five. It came early in the first quarter, when Kris Humphries knocked down a pair from the foul line to make it 7-2.

Miami, meanwhile, led by as many as 40. That margin was reached late in the fourth, when Eddy Curry caught an alley-oop from Mario Chalmers and finished with a slam for a 106-66 advantage.

In between, the Heat dominated.

They were up 30-17 after one and 64-37 at the break. Bosh, who had been out due to a death in his family, led the way with 16 first-half points. Wade added 13, but rolled his right ankle on a non-contact play shortly before the end of the second.

"I just tweaked it," said Wade. "We had a pretty big lead at the break and there was no need to push it especially with a game tomorrow. I told coach I was there if he needed me. It's time to be smart."

With Wade out, James took over, scoring 11 points of 4-of-6 shooting in the third. He added three assists and three rebounds in the quarter, helping stretch the margin to 88-56 by the start of the fourth.

"It was a tough night for us," said Nets coach Avery Johnson. "We were down early and we were down late. They were about three steps quicker than us tonight."

Game Notes

The Heat have won nine straight and 12 of 13 overall against the Nets...Lopez missed the first 32 games of the season with a broken bone in his right foot. He is averaging 19.2 points and 3.6 rebounds in just five games this season.