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Granger's Redemption: Miami 101, Cleveland 91

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The Cleveland Cavaliers visited the Miami HEAT tonight, and an unlikely hero stepped to the plate.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Short Story

Miami led by three after one, 13 after two, three again after three, and eventually won by 10.

Miami was led by 31 points from Dwyane Wade, who scored a dozen in each of the first two quarters. Luol Deng had 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting along with eight rebounds and eight assists, and Chris Andersen had a dozen points and eight rebounds while playing in a season high 29:11.

For the Cavaliers, LeBron James had 30 with eight dimes, Kyrie Irving had 25 points, and Kevin Love scored 14 with five rebounds. The rest of the team was eight-for-24 from the field. * Full NBA.COM Recap

If you're not stoked by long-windedness, bad puns, or stream-of-consciousness editorializing, stop reading right now. For the full first (and last) draft, read on.

The Long Story

First Quarter Recap

Cleveland won the tip, then Kyrie Irving wasted little time getting a 2-0 lead with a 12-footer from the left side. Luol Deng answered with a drive, a layup, then Mario Chalmers stole the ball on the next possession and easily dished to a streaking Dwyane Wade for another layup. Kevin Love missed a three-pointer, and both Chalmers and Deng missed easy buckets on the return trip. Miami retained possession, and Wade banked one off the glass for a 6-2 lead. James lost the handle on the ball the next time down. Both teams missed their next shot, before Chalmers drove to the bucket and sank an easy layup. Irving answered with a jumper to cut the lead to 8-4. Chris Andersen was fouled going for a short layup attempt, then made both of his foul shots for a 10-4 Miami lead with three minutes gone in the frame.

Irving made a long two pointer the next time out, off to a three-for-three start. After a Miami miss, Irving made a layup to cut the lead to two. Deng made it five by nailing his first three-point attempt the next time down. Kevin Love got on the board with a jumper, then Chalmers was called for a very questionable offensive foul - giving the Cavs a one-possession chance to get back into it. Chalmers drew another questionable foul against Irving, making up for his earlier "transgression." Deng and Andersen both got offensive boards the next time down, followed by a Birdman two-pointer. The HEAT stole the ball and Wade made a 15-footer from the left-side near the baseline for a seven point Miami lead. James was fouled by Andersen, and drained both of his shots to make it 17-12, Miami. Wade followed with a very long two-pointer for his seventh and eighth points of the game. The Cavs turned it over again, and Wade missed a runner.

After Love missed a three at the six minute mark, Norris Cole got fouled driving to the hoop. Before he went to the line, the network took a commercial break. Cole missed his first but made the second for a 20-12 Miami lead. James was forced into a miss on a drive, but Miami dribbled it out of bounds on the return trip. Love made an acrobatic shot from right under the rim, and Wade missed a rainbow. Mike Miller drained a three from the left corner to cut the lead down to three. Deng missed his next shot, but gathered the rebound and sunk it. The next time down, James made a runner and got fouled by Udonis Haslem, missing the foul shot. Cole sharply dished it to a cutting Deng for an easy two, then Tristan Thompson hit James for an easy alley-oop. After a scrum at mid-court, Wade and Dion Waiters traded off easy layups.

Cole missed a runner at the three-minute mark, but Wade jammed back the rebound over Love with emphasis for a 28-23 lead. The teams got into it for a loose ball in Cleveland's end a second later, and Haslem won the jump ball over Irving. Miami failed to capitalize, as Cole seemed to lose track of the shot clock. Love got fouled going for a layup the next time down, and made both foul shots to cut the lead back to three. Haslem was slapped to the deck going for a five-footer, but banked the ball in for two, failing to get fouled. James was fouled by UD with 47 seconds left in the quarter, and made one-of-two. After a HEAT foul, James missed a three, then Miami drained the clock down to six seconds as Chalmers drove the ball out of bounds. The HEAT retained possession, and Cole missed the jumper. UD fouled James with 0.7 seconds left - and the King made us pay by making one. After the first, it was Miami 30, Cavs 27.

Stray Thoughts

  • When 5:00 came and went and I was still watching the Oklahoma City Thunder finish off the San Antonio Spurs, I started to get a little worried that I would miss the start of the HEAT game. This fear went unrealized, as the Spurs were unable to slow down OKC and dropped the matchup 114-106.
  • There was little buildup or fanfare for LBJ's introduction - they announced him first out of the Cavs. There was a mix of cheers and boos, but to the credit of the home crowd, it was mostly a positive reaction. ESPN cut quickly to commercial, and I don't know how the other nine were received. Later, when LeBron threw up the chalk, there was almost no reaction from the crowd. He was warmly received before tipoff by his former teammates, Wade, Birdman and Chalmers.
  • That was a spirited first quarter, and why I am and will remain a HEAT fan.
  • Wade led all scorers with 12 points on six-of-nine shooting, Deng made four-of-six for nine, along with five rebounds and three assists.
  • After scoring Cleveland's first eight points, Irving was held scoreless. James and Love had six each. James also had four assists.
  • Wasn't Shawn Marion drafted the same year as "Never Nervous" Pervis Ellison?

Second Quarter Recap

Cole started out the second with a nothing-but-net three pointer from dead center for a six-point HEAT lead. Danny Granger got on the scoresheet with an easy jumper a minute later, followed by a Cavs possession that seemed to last forever, capped by Waiters making one-of-two foul shots. Cole missed a long two-pointer, then Cleveland missed a three-pointer. Chalmers missed a three-pointer, then stole the ball and dished to Shawne Williams, who made his first long-distance shot of the game for a 38-28 Miami lead. Marion missed a three-pointer, and Williams made a long two-pointer to push the lead to 12.

Cleveland broke the funk with three minutes gone in the third when Irving made a 15-footer from straight on. Each team missed a long attempt, then Miami blocked a shot and Wade med a runner. James was fouled by Williams and made one-of-two foul shots. Cole rattled home a two after two misses and offensive boards by Miami. Irving made two foul shots, then Wade made a running left hander. Irving sunk a long distance bomb as the shot clock expired to cut the lead to 10, 46-36.

Wade made a fallaway three-pointer when play resumed after the commercial break. Love missed a short attempt, Wade missed a longer attempt, then Miami forced a turnover. Miami showed excellent ball movement that time down the court, but Granger bricked the three attempt, and James was fouled on his way to an easy two. He made one-of-two shots to keep Miami within a dozen. Chalmers made a three pointer to push it out to 15 just moments later, answered by a James fallaway. Wade was fouled by Miller going for a long jump shot, then made both following foul shots. Irving was too strong on his next three-point shot, and Miami took it back and pushed it out to 17 with a nifty Deng turn and shoot.

Love banked a layup home, then the Birdman was fouled hard on the arm going for a layup of his own a moment later. He seemed alright after the commercial break, and made one-of-two shots to push the lead to a game-high 16 with 2:43 left in the half. James made two foul shots, then Wade missed a go-and-stop jumper. James missed a three, and Deng dished to Wade who made a wide open three. The crowd let Miami know they appreciated the action. Irving made a two, Chalmers missed one, then Love missed a three with one minute left. Thompson made one-of-two foul shots, then Deng drove to the rim for his 14th and 15th points of the night. James made an unconscious three-point shot with the Birdman in his face, and Miami held the pill for the final shot. Wade heaved a prayer from 18 feet which came nowhere near going in. Miami led 62-49 at the break.

Stray Thoughts

  • Erik Spoelstra continues to preach 50-50 basketball, and Miami seems to be listening.
  • All that flak that Miami has taken the past few years for drawing more than their share of free throws - seems it may not have exactly been "The HEAT." James drew 13 foul shots, making eight - Miami combined to go six-of-eight from the stripe.
  • Excuse me if I'm last to the party here, but Miami led by 23 in the third quarter to the PHILADELPHIA 76ERS before losing. And that was just two days ago. Still, it was an impressive half of basketball.
  • Wade was crushing it throughout the first half. He had a dozen points in each quarter, going 10-of-16 for 24 points. His two three-pointers leave him one short of LeBron James for seventh all-time on Miami's all-time leaderboard in the category. Irving led the Cavs with 17 points and four rebounds - along with a game-worst minus-16 rating.
  • Aside from eight foul shots, James only made three-of-seven from the field for 15 points, along with six assists. Deng had 13 points with seven boards and four helpers.
  • Miami led with 22 points in the paint to only 12 for Cleveland.
  • There was a power surge at halftime which delayed the third quarter. The lights weren't out, but they were kinda dim.

Third Quarter Recap

After the lights came back on, Miami started out the second half with Williams missing a three-pointer. James answered with a difficult 14-footer from the left side which cut the lead to 11. Chalmers won a jump ball against Irving, but the HEAT couldn't get a shot off before the 24-second clock expired. James had an easy layup after a defensive breakdown by Miami. Wade drained a 20-foot jumper from the left side to push the lead back to double digits. Love made a jumper, then Chalmers, Anderson, and Chalmers again all missed shots on the same possession before Marion cut the lead to seven with a fast break slam dunk with three minutes gone.

Deng had a driving layup after the commercial break, answered by a Love two-pointer where it looked like he just walked up to the rim and put it in. Wade missed a short shot, then Deng fouled James, who made a 14-foot jumper a moment later. The Birdman was fouled by Miller, who got two foul shots for his trouble. Andersen made one of them to keep the lead at six, and Marion missed a three-pointer. Chalmers stepped out of bounds with the rebound, but the Cavs couldn't convert despite several offensive boards. Cole was too strong on a shot, but Williams got the rebound. Wade missed a three pointer, but Love bounced the rebound out of bounds to give it back to Miami. Andersen cut toward the basket, and Wade hit him for an easy two.

Deng drove to the hoop with six minutes left in the period, but Irving fouled him for two shots, both made to push the lead back to 10. Love missed a jumper badly, and Wade missed a jumper and a layup. Waiters made a three-pointer for the Cavs after about 35 passes on the next possession for Cleveland. The Cavs forced a turnover, but Love got too excited and passed the ball the length of the court to James, who flew out of bounds and over the front couple of rows for a Cleveland turnover. Deng Made a three-pointer on Miami's next attempt. James had to be tended to by a trainer during the commercial timeout. It looked like he may have hyperextended his knee going for the ball out of bounds. He eventually went back to the locker room to continue getting looked at. Waiters made a long two-pointer when play resumed, and Haslem missed a four-clutch two-footer. Irving made a layup after a dish from Love, getting fouled and converting the classic three-point play, which cut the lead down to four.

Williams heaved a three, but couldn't stop the bleeding. Thompson made a layup to extend Miami's pain. Chalmers air-balled a 12-footer from the left side, followed by a wasted Cleveland possession. On the next trip down, Cole was fouled in the act of shooting, and made both shots to keep the Miami lead at four. Love then made two foul shots as James returned to the sideline. Chalmers answered with a too-strong three-point attempt, then after a fruitless Cleveland possession, Haslem put back a Wade miss, surrounded by four Cavs. Thompson made one-of-two from the line, then Wade missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer. The HEAT still held the lead, 77-74.

Stray Thoughts

  • For a second there, the home crowd broke into the dulcet strains of "Seven Nation Army," by the White Stripes. Wade missed a highlight reel putback slam by that much - but oh, what could have been.
  • Um, when is Bosh coming back?
  • After a standout first half, Wade made one-of-seven in the third quarter, but still had a game leading 26 points.
  • James led the Cavs with 21 and eight assists. Irving had 20.
  • Both teams were shooting hot through the first half, but cooled off significantly in the third quarter. Miami was held to just 15 points on five-of-21 shooting.

Fourth Quarter Recap

Waiters started out the final frame by pulling the Cavs within one, then James followed that with an emphatic fast break slam which put the Cavs on top. He was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim, which Wade made to make it a 78-all tie. Chalmers laid a loose ball into the rim at the shot clock buzzer to give Miami back the lead, then Cleveland was called for offensive goaltending. Deng bricked a long shot, then Irving made a driving layup to tie it at 80. Wade missed another shot, then Cleveland dribbled it out of bounds. Wade missed another shot, his offensive game MIA (pun not intended at first, but I've reconsidered).

UD made a layup to reclaim the lead. Irving missed a shot, then, after an offensive rebound, a missed three by James, and another offensive board, turned the ball over to Miami. An inspired sequence then took place, as a Cole save and assist to Deng pushed the lead back to four. James pushed through to the rim on the next trip down, but was fouled and went to the line instead. He missed the first and made the second. Deng sank a baseline jumper, James missed another three, and Cleveland committed a loose ball foul to give Miami the ball along with their five point lead. Andersen missed a chance to close out an alley-oop, the Cavs turned the ball over, and the HEAT gave it right back. Deng fouled Waiters kind of hard to prevent a fast break, and ESPN went back to commercial.

Waiters missed a three point shot, then Thompson was fouled by the Birdman going for the rebound. Miami lost possession, but got it back through creative double-teaming and a heads-up timeout by Chalmers. Cole missed a three-pointer off a dish from Wade, then Thompson rimmed out a one-footer. Wade missed a short shot attempt, and Love badly missed a three. Wade had his legs swiped out from under him on a shot attempt with an expiring shot clock, then made both free throws to put Miami's lead back at seven with under five minutes remaining.

The ensuing possession would see Irving miss a shot, then Andersen collect a rebound and eventually finish with a layup for a 90-81 HEAT lead. James was again fouled going for a drive, and made his 16th and 17th foul shot attempts of the evening, missing both. Wade made the rebound, but Waiters stole the ball and dished to Wade, who slammed it home on the break, drawing a foul from Granger. James converted the shot, and cut the lead to six.

Wade's shot was blocked by Waiters, then the Cavs tried to turn it over but ended with Chalmers and Miller in a tipoff. Miller won easily, then made a three-pointer to cut the lead to three with three minutes left. Granger made a three-pointer falling out of bounds for the HEAT, then Irving missed a shot and Granger collected the board. Andersen made an easy shot with two minutes left for an eight point lead. Miller then missed a three-pointer, and Miami held the ball to milk the clock down. Granger made an easy shot to push it back to 10 with 1:19 remaining.

When play resumed, James made a very long three-pointer, followed by a successful rainbow from Deng. James made another long shot attempt, missed. Wade drove to the hoop for a layup, and Irving took an unfortunate knee-on-knee contact foul from the Birdman. On second look, he missed planting his foot on a drive. He made both free throws, and the HEAT held the ball until the clock expired.

Stray Thoughts

  • I don't mind so much when Miami suddenly goes cold, as long as they 1) already have a lead, and 2) the other team goes just as cold (or colder).
  • The Cavs have a "Big Three" of their own, with James, Love, and Irving. The three combined for 69 of Cleveland's 91 points. James had 30 with eight dimes, Irving had 25 points, and Love scored 14 with five rebounds. The rest of the team was eight-for-24 from the field.
  • Miami's big three on the night were Wade, with 31 points, five assists and five rebounds, Deng, with 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting, eight assists and eight rebounds, and......Danny Granger? Granger scored seven of his nine points in the fourth quarter, hitting all three of his shots and four-of-five overall.
  • Chris Andersen scored a season high 12 points with a season high eight rebounds in a season high 29 minutes.