LeBron James and the two-time defending champion Miami Heat, the NBA's version of the Dallas Cowboys, made their only stop of the season in DFW on Tuesday night before the Dallas Mavericks NBA-best 500th consecutive regular season sellout at American Airlines Center. It only makes sense that local luminaries, including Cowboys players Tony Romo, Dwayne Harris, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray and Jason Witten, were among those in attendance to see King James and his crew go to work.
Since James joined fellow superstars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami in the summer of 2010, the super-team has lost only one playoff series, the 2011 NBA Finals to Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs. The epic series resulted in the Mavs NBA championship parade through the streets of downtown Dallas and awoke the monster inside of the NBA’s current best player. While experts now mention LeBron’s name among the all-time greats like Jordan, Magic, Bird and Russell, many here recall that summer when his ineffectiveness in crunchtime was fodder for late night talk show hosts and comedians across the country.
Since the loss to Dallas in the NBA Finals, the Heat are 6-0 against the Mavs, including the 117-106 victory on Tuesday night. James scored a season-high 42 points while Dallas native Chris Bosh – who recently purchased Jaap Van Zweeden's $3 million condo at the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas – added 22 points.
The beautiful people of Dallas were out in full force to pack the AAC -- the same “fans” who came to see Michael Jordan, Shaq and Kobe over the years. While I did spot several extremely attractive females clad in Heat No. 6 jerseys, it was a pleasant surprise to see the home team fans still in the majority. The Mavs put on a good show and hung tough with the Heat, leading 95-92 when James returned from a break with 7:47 left in the game. The 10-time all-star scored the game’s next eight points and the Heat went on a 14-0 run to put it away.
“When they beat us (in the Finals), I went to a place I haven't been before in a long time,” James told a hoard of media crammed into the visitors’ locker room. “I went into breaking down every aspect of my game to get better, because I didn’t perform at the level I knew I could have or should have during those Finals. The Mavericks are probably the reason why I am who I am today.”
Next up for the Mavs is a three-game road trip while the Heat head north on I-35 for a Thursday night battle with Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
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