Heat Check: LeBron James rebounds to carry Miami past Phoenix

LeBron James playing a strong game at Phoenix on Tuesday night seemed to be a sure thing following his uncharacteristically poor effort in a loss at Utah three nights earlier.

James didn’t disappoint.

The King had 37 points, nine rebounds and five steals to lead Miami to a 103-97 victory against the Suns, the Heat’s sixth straight win at Phoenix.

James hit 12 of 22 shots and 11 of 14 free throws for the Heat (36-14).

In Saturday night’s loss to the struggling Jazz, James shot 4 of 13 and scored 13 points — his lowest total since scoring 13 in a win over Atlanta on Nov. 19.

Heat vs. Suns

Miami swept the season series from Phoenix, the only team to beat Eastern Conference-leading Indiana twice this season. The Heat defeated the Suns 107-92 at AmericanAirlines Arena on Nov. 25.

Dwyane Wade missed the game, but not to rest his knees. The All-Star guard remained back at the team hotel with migraines. He was replaced in the lineup by Toney Douglas, who started for the first time since Jan. 28, 2012.

Chris Bosh had 21 points and eight rebounds. Norris Cole score 10 points in 30 minutes off the bench. Chris "Birdman" Andersen contributed six points and six rebounds.

After sinking 1 of 11 from 3-point territory in the first half, the Heat hit 8 of 16 from long distance in the second half.

Miami trailed 25-22 after one quarter despite Phoenix having scored the first 12 points of the game.

THE TURNING POINT

With Miami leading 94-89, James stole Markieff Morris’ pass and drove the length of the court for a dunk to build a seven-point lead with 1:13 left. After Gerald Green hit a 3-pointer for Phoenix, James hit Bosh with a cross-court pass as the shot clock was down to 3 seconds — Bosh sank a trey.

THE DIFFERENCE MAKER

James, who began the game being assertive and driving to the hoop. He scored 11 of Miami’s final 14 points.

STAT OF THE GAME

The Heat had 12 steals. James had five, Mario Chalmers and Cole each had two.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Heat visit the Golden State Warriors at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. It’s Miami’s last game before the All-Star break.

You can follow Charlie McCarthy on Twitter @mccarthy_chas or email him at mac1763@bellsouth.net.