Heat win streak reaches 10 as Miami takes down Cavaliers

One of Joel Anthony's 5 blocked shots.

For the most part, when a sub .500 team comes to Miami on a random Wednesday night the AAA won't have the electric feeling that it had last night.  Even though the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers came into this one riding a long losing streak, the teams' records or position in the standings weren't going to be needed to pump up the crowd. 

The Cavs did their best to take advantage of a slow start by Miami, going on a 7-0 run to jump out to an early 5-point lead.  The Heat would respond shortly after with their own run, outscoring Cleveland 11-2.  Chris Bosh and LeBron James each scored 8 points in the 1st quarter but Miami still had a little bit of an uphill climb ahead, down by 2 after the opening 12 minutes.

James Jones hit back-to-back triples about 5 minutes into the 2nd quarter, which ended a 9-0 Cavs run and tied the game at 35.  He then drew a charge on Cleveland's next offensive possession which led to a LeBron James bucket on the other end, giving the lead right back to Miami.  It wouldn't last though, as the game of runs continued.

Cleveland went on a 12-0 run to go up by 10, and inconsistent defense was hurting the Heat.  That latest string of points by the Cavs seemed to wake up Miami, and they closed the 1st half on a nice little 9-2 run (yes, another run) narrowing the gap to 3.  While a 3-point deficit doesn't seem very large, it was the most the Heat had been trailing at halftime in their last 13 games.

As has been the case in many games this season, the Heat came out of the half playing much better then they had.  The offense was still a bit sluggish for me with too many guys standing around, but that would gradually get better.  A big part of the early surge was Mario Chalmers who drilled three shots from downtown in the first 5+ minutes.

Very slowly did the Heat's offense begin to gain some steam, but Cleveland was hitting some tough shots and keeping pace with Miami.  Daniel Gibson single handedly kept the Cavs in the game as the 3rd wound down, scoring 7 straight points at the end of the quarter as his team trailed Miami by just two after 3.

After scoring just 11 points through the first 3 quarters, Dwyane Wade began to heat up at the beginning of the 4th.  He scored Miami's first 7 points to get things going for the Heat.  A few minutes later Wade went to the floor hard when driving to the rim and came up grasping his left wrist and wincing in pain. 

Erik Spoelstra called a quick timeout to check on his superstar but D-Wade insisted he was fine.  He would then prove it by drilling a 3-pointer immediately following the timeout, his TWELFTH points of the quarter.  In what has been a trend throughout the season, the game was close for while until Miami busted it open at some point in the 2nd half.

Cleveland made a final push after the Heat took a 14-point lead mid-way through the quarter.  They clamped down defensively while chipping away on offense, and that turned into a 12-1 run by the Cavs that trimmed their deficit down to just 3 with under 90 seconds left.  That would be as close as they'd get though with Miami holding their 10th straight opponent to under 100 points, beating the Cavaliers 101-95.

The Heat had a very rough game from the charity stripe but made up for it from beyond the arc.  It was a good night for free throw attempts but Miami would make just 27 of their 41 foul shots (66%).  Luckily, missing 14 freebies didn't bite the Heat in the butt because they shot the ball so well from downtown, hitting 10-of-23 (43.5%).

GAME NOTES

  • Dwyane Wade scored 21 of his 28 points in the 2nd half, including three 3-pointers.
  • LeBron James' first assist of the game was the 4,000th of his 8-year.
  • It was the 4th time this season that Miami hit 10+ shots from downtown, all of which were wins and 2 of the 4 have come against Cleveland. 
  • Mario Chalmers continued to shoot the ball well from 3-point range, hitting season-high 4 triples.  He's shooting 43.7% from downtown (14-of-32) over his last 8 games.
  • James Jones shot 3-of-4 from 3-point range as he continues to be a reliable source for outside shooting.  He how has tripled in 12 straight games, and the Heat are 8-0 when Jones hits 3 or more from downtown. 
  • Joel Anthony blocked 5 shots.  Wow. 

Next up for the Heat is their first trip to Madison Square Garden of the season to face the surging New York Knicks.   I'm hoping that the Knicks are ‘back' so that the awesome rivalry of the late 90s can be rekindled. 

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