Heat Check: Miami returns home with win over Cavs
MIAMI, Fla. — A five-game homestand presented the Miami Heat with an opportunity to get back on track following a 2-2 road trip.
The first half against Cleveland in Saturday night’s homestand opener went according to that plan, as Miami shot 65 percent to build a 16-point halftime lead.
Things turned in the third quarter, however, when the Cavaliers outscored Miami 28-16 to pull within 84-80.
The Heat then fell behind by four midway through the fourth quarter before rallying for a 114-107 victory at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Miami has won nine straight in the series, and is 12-1 overall (7-0 at home) against the Cavaliers since LeBron James left Cleveland for South Beach.
James had 25 points, nine rebounds and nine assists to lead the Heat (17-6). Dwyane Wade added 24 points and Chris Bosh had 22 points and 12 rebounds.
Kyrie Irving (19 points) led six double-figure scorers for the Cavaliers (9-14).
Miami, which won at Cleveland 95-84 on Nov. 27, was coming off a loss at Indiana on Tuesday night that ended a four-game road trip.
The Heat shot just 33 percent and were outrebounded 16-9 in the third quarter, when Cleveland closed to within four.
Wade scored 20 points, Bosh 18 and James 15 as Miami took a 68-52 halftime lead.
Miami led 44-42 with 7:13 left in the second quarter, then went on a 18-3 run to go ahead by 17 points 2:11 before halftime. Bosh had nine points during the spurt.
It was mostly a well-played, entertaining half produced by the Heat, who shot 65 percent (26 of 40) thanks partly to 38 points in the paint. They also had nine steals, outrebounded Cleveland 19-15 and had 16 assists on 26 field goals.
The Cavaliers trailed by 16 despite shooting 50 percent (21 of 42).
Cavaliers coach Mike Brown, seen sharing a laugh with James a few minutes earlier, was ejected after receiving two technical fouls for arguing a no-foul call on Shane Battier.
James and Wade were each perfect from the field to help Miami take a 35-29 lead after one quarter.
The turning point
LeBron James scored from in close to give Miami a 102-100 lead with 3:24 left in regulation. After a Cavaliers timeout, James fed Norris Cole for a layup and then did the same for Ray Allen, who hit two free throws after being fouled. That gave the Heat a six-point lead with 2:15 remaining. Following an Anderson Varejao foul shot, Marion Chalmers’ 3-pointer gave Miami a 109-101 cushion 1:36 to go.
The difference maker
LeBron James’ assertiveness late in the fourth quarter sparked the Heat during the pivotal timespan.
Stat of the game
The Heat shot 55.5 percent (42 of 76) overall and 38.1 percent (8 of 21) from behind the arc.
The Heat continue their five-game homestand against the Utah Jazz on Monday night at 7:30 p.m.