"It would mean a lot," James said when asked what MVP No. 3 would mean. "Honestly, it would mean a lot."
James made his first three shots of the third quarter — making him 10 for 11, having converted nine straight to that point — with the last of those being a 3-pointer as the shot clock was expiring to make it 62-53. Miami outscored Toronto 23-11 in the third, and James found Juwan Howard for a basket late in the quarter that gave the Heat what was then their biggest lead at 74-58, a play the two-time MVP celebrated by punching the air at midcourt.
Soon afterward, he took a seat on the bench for the rest of the evening. Tip-off against Chicago on Thursday was a mere 22½ hours away.
NOTES: Toronto's 23 points in the second half were the fewest allowed in any half by the Heat this season. Miami's previous one-half defensive best was 30 in the first half at Philadelphia on March 16. ... Heat C Eddy Curry checked in with 3:30 left, and got a dunk 11 seconds later that got virtually everyone on the Heat bench to their feet. ... James appeared to tweak his ankle on a photographer in the first quarter, shortly before he aggravated a finger injury that's been bothering him for a few weeks. ... Toronto C Jamaal Magloire, a former Heat locker-room favorite, said before the game that he plans on playing again next season.