James scored 32 of his season-high 38 points after halftime, Chris Bosh had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Miami rallied to beat the Rockets 113-110 on Monday night.
Dwyane Wade added 19 points for the Heat, who shot 47.6 percent (10-for-21) from 3-point range and 51 percent from the field overall.
James went 12-for-20 from the field and 5-for-7 from 3-point range in the second half. He gave the Heat the lead for good with a driving layup with 19 seconds left.
"It's the zone you hear about," James said. "Certain players talk about getting into the zone. I wish I could get into it more. But when you're in it, you know how it feels, you know everything you put up and how you're going is pretty good."
James was the difference, though, and Miami beat Houston for the sixth straight time.
"I expected him to make every single shot he threw up," Bosh said. "I guess, after 30 points, you think everything is going in."
Jeremy Lin shot an air ball from 3-point range with 10 seconds left, Wade caught it and the Heat bounced back from a 104-86 loss to Memphis on Sunday.
"We've been in this position before," James said. "Nothing we haven't seen before, just trying to get stops."
Lin, meanwhile, endured another humbling moment against the Heat. Last season, his amazing run with the New York Knicks hit a detour in Miami, where he went 1-for-11 from the field and coughed up eight turnovers.
"Obviously, it's my responsibility to hit that shot," Lin said. "It was a good shot for me, a quality shot, and it didn't go in for me, unfortunately, in a crucial play of the game."
Rockets interim coach Kelvin Sampson likened the back-and-forth game to a fistfight, with the more experienced Heat delivering the final blow. Head coach Kevin McHale is on indefinite leave because of a family matter.
"They got the last punch in, and I'm disappointed that we lost," Sampson said.
The Heat looked as though they might blow out Houston early when they opened the game with a 20-5 spurt. Miami started 8-for-12 from the field, while the Rockets missed nine of their first 11 shots.
Miami's shooting eventually cooled off, and Houston started finding scoring opportunities inside. James had just six points on 2-for-6 shooting and missed his only 3-point attempt in the first half, and the Heat led only 56-52 at the break.
James sank two 3s early in the third quarter to get himself going. But Lin hit a 3-pointer and then threaded a nifty bounce pass to Parsons for a fast-break layup as the Rockets rallied again. Carlos Delfino's 3-pointer from the wing with 5:03 left in the third quarter gave Houston its first lead at 70-69.
The Rockets continued to find holes in the middle of the Heat's defense to keep Miami at bay. James scored 16 points in the third quarter but rimmed out a 3-pointer just before the buzzer, and Houston led 85-82.
Marcus Morris sank two unlikely 3-pointers from the corner over James, and Houston seemed to be on its way to a big early-season win. But the Rockets' shooting touch left them just when they needed it most. Houston made a season-high 12 3-pointers but missed its final three attempts from long range.
"We made some good plays toward the end of the game," James Harden said, "but some of the shots didn't fall."
Harden shook off a slow start to score 22 points. Lin had only nine points and six assists.
James scored in double figures for the 149th consecutive game for Miami, breaking a tie with Wade for the longest streak in franchise history. ... The Rockets remain uncertain when McHale will rejoin the team. "It's a tough time for his family," Sampson said. "Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with him." ... Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith and star receiver Andre Johnson, a Miami native, had courtside seats next to prominent defense attorney Rusty Hardin, a regular at Rockets games. Houston running back Arian Foster sat behind them, and James ran over and greeted both players just before the tipoff. ...Shane Battier, who played for the Rockets from 2006 to '11, got a loud ovation when he was introduced in Miami's starting lineup. The Rockets played a tribute video after the first quarter, and Battier acknowledged more applause with a wave.
- Tom Washington
- James Williams
- Eric Lewis