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LeBron James, Heat Host Mavericks

(Sports Network) - A pair of NBA heavyweights clash in South Beach tonight when the sizzling Miami Heat will try to extend one of the longest winning streaks in team history by halting a 13-game skid against the Dallas Mavericks.

Miami hasn't beaten the Mavs since a 119-118 overtime triumph in south Florida back on March 16, 2004. Of course, most of that long losing streak occurred when the Heat didn't have LeBron James, the reigning league MVP.

Miami did fall in Dallas, 106-95, with James on Nov. 27, however. That game featured the now infamous bump between LeBron and his coach, Erik Spoelstra, during a third-quarter timeout, fueling speculation that James was disrespecting his new mentor. The Heat fell to 9-8 after the loss and held a players-only meeting. Since then, they haven't lost.

The King and his teammates struggled a bit on Saturday but were able to extend their impressive run in the end when Dwyane Wade drained two free throws with 7.9 seconds left and Miami won its 12th straight, 95-94, over the Wizards in the nation's capital.

Wade was 0-for-6 from the field in the final quarter and the Heat trailed by five with under a minute left, but took advantage of numerous mistakes by the Wizards, on a day they traded away their top scorer. Earlier Saturday, the Wizards dealt Gilbert Arenas, a three-time All-Star guard to Orlando for forward Rashard Lewis.

James led the way with 32 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Heat, who are two wins shy of a franchise-record for the longest streak, set December 6, 2004 - January 1, 2005. Wade tallied 20 points. Chris Bosh contributed 12 of his 20 points in the final quarter and totaled nine rebounds, but also accounted for seven of his team's 17 turnovers.

"In order to have streaks like this, you've got to have games like this," James said. "You're going to have games where it looks like you're not even supposed to win."

A win tonight would also match Boston's current 13-game winning streak for the longest in the NBA this season.

The Mavericks, who are opening up a tough three-game road trip tonight, won their second straight and for the 14th time in 15 games on Friday when Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry both finished with 18 points, and Dallas cruised to a 106-91 victory over the Phoenix Suns.

Caron Butler added 17 and Shawn Marion supplied 15 for Dallas, which has won six straight at home over Phoenix. Brendan Haywood finished with six points and 10 rebounds, while Jason Kidd led the Mavericks with eight assists and Tyson Chandler recorded 12 rebounds and three blocks.

"I like a lot of the things we did," said Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle. "We are still learning about ourselves, and learning about what it takes to play eye level in this building. We showed some positive signs and there are some things that we still have to get over the hump on."

Dallas, which is 8-1 on the road this season, will also face Orlando and Oklahoma City on its trek.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.