Heat stumble on road in loss to LeBron James, Cavaliers
CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James and Kevin Love were too much for the Miami Heat to handle Friday night
James scored 29 points while Love added 24 with 14 rebounds and the Cleveland Cavaliers won their home opener, 102-92.
James was 13 of 19 from the field for Cleveland, which pulled away midway through the second half to win for the second time in three games.
Dwyane Wade led Miami with 25 points while Chris Bosh scored 16.
With All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving sidelined by a fractured left kneecap, it will be up to James and Love to carry the Cavaliers.
"Kevin Love is our main focal point," James said. "We want to get Kev to know how great he is and how good he is for our team. He showed again tonight why he’s one of the best power forwards in our league."
James, Wade and Bosh played in the same regular-season game for the first time since all were in a Miami uniform. James returned to the Cavaliers in the summer of 2014 and played in all four games against the Heat last season. Wade missed the one game Bosh played in between the teams.
"This was a great environment," Wade said. "I’m glad our team got the chance to play in an environment like this early in the season. Give them credit."
James, who said Friday he planned on playing in all 82 games, showed no signs of the back troubles that sidelined him in training camp. He had five rebounds and four assists in 34 minutes.
Cleveland took an 11-point lead in the first half, but Wade and Bosh kept Miami close. The Heat trailed 63-59 in the third quarter before the Cavaliers put together a run that began with a reverse layup by James.
Tristan Thompson converted two alley-oop passes from Matthew Dellavedova for dunks, Richard Jefferson hit a 3-pointer from the corner and James scored on another drive, helping Cleveland build an 88-69 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Miami defeated Charlotte on Wednesday to open the season. Bosh scored 21 points in his return after being sidelined in February because of a blood clot.
"Honestly, a lot of times we shot ourselves in the foot by not getting into our offense," Bosh said. "We’ve got a long way to go. It’s just going to take time."
The teams split four games last season with the home team winning each time, all by double figures. This was the Heat’s only trip to Cleveland this season while the Cavaliers visit Miami twice.
FEELING THE HEA
James knows his former team would like to get back to the top in the East.
He visited with Wade and some other Heat players on Thursday night, and they didn’t have to tell James that they would love to dethrone Cleveland as conference champions.
"I mean, that’s what everybody’s objective is," said James, who won two titles in four seasons with Miami. "We’re the reigning Eastern Conference champions and everyone wants to beat us, represent the East in the Finals. We haven’t done anything, personally. It’s a new season."
If Love needed any reassurance that his surgically repaired left shoulder was OK, he got it against Chicago and Memphis — two of the NBA’s most physical teams.
"If it was going to go against two teams, it was going to be those two teams," he said. "I guess for a couple tests coming right out of the gate, those are them. Definitely got hit, got pulled, got my arm locked a few times and I’m pretty sore too, so it’s definitely been tested and I’m sure it will continue to be."
Heat: Amar’e Stoudemire scored two points with three rebounds in 11 minutes in his season debut. … Wade surprised Mo Williams by blocking his 3-point attempt from behind in the first quarter. Williams was briefly wide open before the Miami star swooped in and swatted the shot away.
Cavaliers: Love found James with a baseball pass to the other end of the court in the third quarter. James made the catch and drove on Luol Deng for a resounding dunk. …Thompson rejected Bosh’s dunk attempt in the fourth quarter and celebrated by slapping hands with James.
Heat: Host Houston on Sunday.
Cavaliers: Visit Philadelphia on Monday.