Heat notebook

Miami Heat’s LeBron James garners MVP support

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Ready to go:</span> The Heat’s LeBron James adjusts his face mask in the first half of Tuesday’s game against the Rockets.
Ready to go: The Heat’s LeBron James adjusts his face mask in the first half of Tuesday’s game against the Rockets.
George Bridges / MCT
WEB VOTE Has LeBron James overtaken Kevin Durant in the MVP race?


Add Hall of Famer Magic Johnson to the list of basketball fans who thinks the race for the league’s MVP now favors LeBron James.

Johnson went to Twitter in support of James after the Heat superstar scored 61 points Monday against the Charlotte Bobcats. Johnson believes James deserves the NBA’s top individual award.

“Will the real MVP please stand up?” Johnson said. “Oh, he did last night, LeBron James with 61pts!”

Johnson later added: “There's no team more fun to watch than the Heat and no player more fun to watch than LeBron James.”

And then: “LeBron James is the only player in the world today that can do just about anything he wants on the basketball court.”

Johnson didn’t stop there in his praise for James and the Miami Heat. He went on to heap compliments on Dwyane Wade and coach Erik Spoelstra:

“I love the way @KingJames and @DwyaneWade are playing right now, on a mission to 3peat,” Johnson said.

The Heat entered Tuesday’s game on an eight-game winning streak. During that run, James averaged 37.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.43 steals per game and Wade averaged more than 21 points per game while shooting 61.6 percent from the field.

“Not enough credit is given to Erik Spoelstra on the great job he's doing coaching the Heat,” Johnson tweeted. “My Coach of the Year.”

Oden out

The matchup between Greg Oden and Dwight Howard will have to wait until the Rockets visit Miami later this month. Spoelstra and the Heat’s training staff opted to rest Oden on Tuesday rather than play him on back-to-back nights. Oden, who is just now working himself into shape after missing four seasons with knee injuries, played five minutes in the Heat’s victory against the Bobcats.

“We stepped in,” Spoelstra said. “We don’t want [Oden] to play the back-to-back right now, but he should be available for the rest of the trip.”

Taunting LeBron

James called Rockets starting guard Patrick Beverley “a bulldog” before the game, and it didn’t take long to understand the compliment.

A former draft-day addition by the Heat, Beverley started the game hot, scoring nine points on three three-pointers in the opening minutes while tossing some verbal jabs the Heat’s way.

Beverley was cut by the Heat after the 2010 preseason. Always one to give opponents an earful, he even chimed in after James pulled up for a layup on a breakaway rather than attempt a dunk. James shot Beverley a look of disbelief during the exchange.

Beverley is a fan favorite in Houston for his fiery attitude. He won the starting point guard spot over Jeremy Lin in the preseason.

Rest me not

Did Spoelstra think of resting James after his 61-point effort? Absolutely not.

“He’s in the absolute youth and prime of his career,” Spoelstra said. “At this stage of the season, he could probably play over 40 minutes a night every night. It felt like he was in there the entire night. He only played 41. It was just one of those special nights.”

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