LeBRON JAMES and Kevin Durant exchanged words. Dwyane Wade and Serge Ibaka did a little shoving. Five technical fouls were called, and Russell Westbrook punched a table in frustration.
This NBA Finals rematch met expectations. And like that series, it ended with Miami on top.
James finished with 29 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, Wade scored 21, and the Heat survived a frantic finish to beat the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder, 103-97, on Tuesday.
Mario Chalmers scored a season-high 20 for the Heat, which matched the franchise's best 25-game start at 19-6. Chris Bosh added 16 for Miami, which has beaten the Thunder five straight times going back to last June's title series.
"Felt a little bit like a different month," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Regardless of what your script is coming into the game, when you play this team, it's not going to go according to script. They're too good."
Durant scored 33 points and Westbrook added 21 for Oklahoma City, but both Thunder stars missed potentially game-tying three-point attempts in the final seconds. Ibaka and Kevin Martin each added 15 for the Thunder, which has dropped two straight for the first time this season.
"It was a great game. I can't complain," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "We could have done a better job of not turning the ball over in the first half. All in all, it was a great game to play and a great game to coach. Unfortunately, we didn't come out with the win."
Oh, and there was a wild finish.
Wade lost the ball on an ill-advised, behind-the-back dribble, and the turnover set up Durant for a two-handed dunk that got the Thunder within 96-95 with 44.1 seconds remaining.
Needing a stop on the next trip, the Thunder forgot to play defense. Kendrick Perkins and Ibaka were confused on the ensuing Miami possession, and Bosh was left alone to take a pass from James and throw down a dunk that restored Miami's three-point edge.
"We went over and helped," Durant said. "We just needed to help on the backside. There was miscommunication but we still had a chance to go into overtime."
Oklahoma City got within one when Durant made a jumper over James, but no closer.
In other games *
At Brooklyn, Rajon Rondo scored 19 points in his first full game against the Nets this season, and the Boston Celtics won, 93-76, in another game with some heated moments between the division rivals.
Rondo, sidelined in the first meeting and thrown out of the second after shoving the Nets' Kris Humphries into the courtside seats, outplayed counterpart Deron Williams and helped the Celtics take control early.
Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez each scored 15 for the Nets.
A month after the teams scuffled in Boston, there was another skirmish in the fourth quarter that resulted in four technical fouls, but that was the most fight the Nets put up in a disappointing performance on the national stage of the Christmas opener. They were never in the game after the first 20 minutes.
* At Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant engineered a second-half comeback to help the Lakers beat New York, 100-94, extend their winning streak to five games and improve to .500.
Bryant scored 34 points in his NBA-record 15th Christmas Day game and Metta World Peace added 20 points and seven rebounds while defending Carmelo Anthony, whose 34 points led the Knicks. Bryant, the league's leading scorer, has topped 30 or more points in nine straight games.
The Knicks controlled most of the game behind Anthony and J.R. Smith, who had 24 points. But they struggled offensively in the fourth, when Anthony had seven points and Smith had five.
Smith's three-pointer pulled New York to 96-94. After Pau Gasol made one of two free throws, Smith missed another three that would have tied the game with 32 seconds left. Gasol dunked with 12 seconds to go, punctuating a win that avenged a 116-107 loss in New York on Dec. 13.
Steve Nash had 16 points, 11 assists and six rebounds in his second game in nearly 2 months. He missed 24 straight games recovering from a leg fracture.
* At Chicago, James Harden scored 26 points and Jeremy Lin added 20 points and 11 assists to lead the Houston Rockets to a 120-97 win over the Bulls.
Omer Asik had a double-double with 20 points and 18 rebounds in his first trip back to Chicago since signing with the Rockets in the offseason. The Rockets' starters all scored in double figures. Chandler Parsons added 23 points and Marcus Morris had 10.
Cleveland center Anderson Varejao will miss his fourth straight game because of a bruised right knee.