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As Wade and Bosh rest, James still in Heat lineup

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MIAMI (AP)

LeBron James wants some rest. He also wants to play.

For now, the desire to play seems to stronger. And his MVP candidacy may be a beneficiary of that decision.

While Dwyane Wade is getting another game off for what the Miami Heat call ''maintenance'' on Wednesday, and with Chris Bosh to sit out for the same reason, James is still in the lineup. He enters Wednesday's game against Toronto having played the sixth-most minutes in the league this month, the fifth-most in the league for the entire season.

''It's just how I am,'' James said Wednesday. ''When I go on the floor, if I'm in uniform, I'm trying to play at the highest level. If I'm in uniform, I don't try to take minutes off or take games off when I can. ... I just want to be the best.''

If nothing else, those with MVP votes are seeing plenty from James, who has already won that award twice and is considered one of the frontrunners for the trophy this year, along with Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant. James said it's humbling to be in that conversation, but also knows things like scoring Miami's final 17 points to save the Heat from what would have been an embarrassing loss at New Jersey on Monday certainly could generate some voter attention.

''It would mean a lot,'' James said when asked what MVP No. 3 would mean. ''Honestly, it would mean a lot.''

That being said, a rest is likely coming for James.

When it'll happen remains anyone's guess.

''We have to manage a lot of different things right now and that's the reality of where we are in the season,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ''When we're playing, we're playing to win.''

The Heat play at home again Thursday night against Chicago, a game where Wade and Bosh are almost certain to be on the floor. The Bulls enter Wednesday leading Miami by 2 1/2 games in the race for the Eastern Conference's best record. Depending on how the last Heat-Bulls game of the regular season goes, that race could be just about over by late Thursday night - or just getting started.

And that'll likely dictate when - and if - James gets a break before the postseason, which could open for Miami as early as April 28, two days after the regular season ends in Washington.

''Every season going into the playoffs I've had an opportunity to get a game or two (off) at the end of the season,'' James said. ''And seeing what the standings are ... I'll finish out this week. After this back-to-back, finish this out, then I'll see where the standings are and then go from there. I would love to get maybe one, maybe two games, just to kind of rest and get ready for the postseason.''

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Follow Tim Reynolds on Twitter at http://www.twitter.con/ByTimReynolds

Tagged: Heat, LeBron James

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