James scores 21, Heat roll past Magic 120-92
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By TIM REYNOLDS
They didn't listen.
Jones scored 14 of his 17 points to fuel a third quarter that turned a close game into a blowout, James led Miami with 21 points and the Heat rolled past the Magic 120-92 on Wednesday night for their fifth straight victory.
Chris Bosh added 18 points for the Heat, who had all five starters sit out the fourth quarter for the second straight night. Dwyane Wade sat out his second straight full game to give his knees more rest.
"My teammates rely on me," Jones said. "They know what I'm capable of doing."
So does Orlando.
Jones - who often isn't even in the Heat rotation - started in Wade's place and went 4 for 5 from beyond the arc in the third quarter alone, including back-to-back 3s that helped blow the game open.
After connecting to make it 68-57, Jones took a pass from James, watched Orlando guard Jameer Nelson sail past after falling victim to a head fake, then coolly hit another 3 to extend Miami's lead to 14.
"That's what happens when you double," James shouted to any Magic player who might be listening.
The Heat didn't lose control again. Michael Beasley scored 14 points and Chris Andersen added 10 for the Heat, who opened the game on a 16-0 run, lost the lead briefly in the second quarter, then outscored the Magic 66-43 after halftime.
Arron Afflalo scored 20 of his 30 points in the first half for Orlando, and made 7 of 9 shots from 3-point range. Victor Oladipo scored 20 points, though had eight turnovers, giving him 17 in his past two games.
The teams meet again Saturday in Miami.
"We've got to give them credit for hitting shots," Afflalo said. "At the end of the day, LeBron does command some attention at times. Maybe next game we'll have a little more individual pride just to see how well we can do defensively."
Nelson scored 17 for the Magic.
"LeBron came down and imposed his will on the game," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said.
The win improved Heat coach Erik Spoelstra's career record to 269-137, inching him past the legendary Red Auerbach for fifth on the NBA's all-time winning percentage list for coaches. Spoelstra's winning percentage is now .663; Auerbach's was .662.
Only Phil Jackson, Billy Cunningham, Gregg Popovich and K.C. Jones have better percentages.
"We have a lot of professionals in that locker room," Spoelstra said. "But JJ probably could write the textbook on professionalism, keeping yourself ready, embracing a role and playing that role arguably as well as anybody in this league."
James reached double figures for the 507th straight game, one shy of matching Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the fifth-longest streak in NBA history.
"I'm gifted," James said, "and I don't take it for granted."
The Heat, who struggled with starts of games at the beginning of the season, came out flying.
Miami made its first seven shots, Orlando missed its first eight, and the end result was a 16-0 Heat lead a mere 4:02 after tipoff. It was the first time all season that the Heat opened with more than two unanswered points to begin a game.
And within a few minutes, the margin was all gone.
Afflalo got the Magic on the board with a pair of free throws, the first points in what became a 14-point outburst in a span of 6 1/2 minutes for Orlando's leading scorer. When Maurice Harkless hit a free throw with 7:55 left in the half, Orlando had its first lead at 32-31.
It became Orlando's only lead, lasting all of 48 seconds. Miami rebuilt a 10-point edge twice over the remainder of the half, before taking a 54-49 lead into halftime.
From there, it was all Miami. There was one 12-minute stretch where Orlando outscored Miami 32-15. Take that away, and the Heat outscored the Magic 105-60.
Afterward, there was a surprise awaiting the Heat - an early Thanksgiving dinner in the locker room, gumbo and fried chicken and a table filled with desserts, all cooked by Ray Allen's mother.
"That's a good ball team and they were really good tonight," Vaughn said. "They got some off turnovers in transition, and then you get LeBron being effective in the post and having to react to him. He's a willing and a really good passer and they have guys who can shoot the basketball. He found `em and they made shots."
NOTES: Heat F Rashard Lewis appeared in his 1,000th game, and James made his 5,000th free throw. ... Darrelle Revis of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - a Magic season-ticket-holder - was courtside, along with former NBA star Grant Hill. ... Magic F Glen Davis, who has not played this season because of a broken foot, has resumed practicing but there's no timetable for a return to games. ... No Heat player logged 30 minutes.
Updated November 20, 2013