It does not appear that LeBron James continues to suffer from whatever ailed him in the 2011 NBA Finals. The Miami Heat star -- who had a bizarre Finals in which just about everything went wrong -- slayed his demons by leading his club to a mammoth 105-94 win over the Dallas Mavericks after the Mavs raised their championship banner. LeBron scored 37 points in 36 minutes, shooting 11-19 from the field and burning the Dallas defenders alive.
The final margin hardly does Miami's beatdown justice. The Heat led by as many as 35 points in the third quarter; only in garbage time did Dallas get the margin back to something manageable. Miami fulfilled its promise to play more up-tempo and attack in just about every transition opportunity: the game saw 100 possessions for each team, much faster than either squad played last season.
Dwyane Wade added 26 points on 11-21 shooting for Miami. He and James each tallied six assists; LeBron had 10 rebounds and Wade added 8. Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 for the Mavericks, but shot 6-15 from the floor and, with the rest of Dallas' starters, was burned in transition time after time. Jason Terry led the Mavs with 23 points; he took 10 three-pointers on the game. Lamar Odom's Dallas debut saw the reigning Sixth Man of the Year shoot just 1-6 from four points in 13 minutes of play.