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Heat outlast Cavaliers, win 106-98

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The shorthanded Heat were spectacular as they outlasted the Cleveland Cavaliers.

NBA: Miami Heat at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

It was the Cavs who would draw first blood off a Kyrie Irving jumper, but Miami wouldn’t wait too long to get on the board thanks to Dion Waiters. The Heat displayed strong defense to start, forcing turnovers, blocking shots and ruining Cleveland’s shot selection. The Heat offense also looked great allowing for good shot selection and in turn a 7-0 scoring run.

Dion Waiters acted like a force of nature in the first quarter, scoring 14 points. He clearly had revenge game on his mind during his extended shoot around and it showed in the first quarter. Though LeBron did have a few moves in transition he spent most of the quarter on the outside, analyzing and getting a feel for the Heat. It’s also worth noting how hot the Heat have been from beyond the arc lately, it’s a threat they’ve severely lacked in recent years and been a big part of their midseason success.

The second quarter began with Andrew Bogut exiting his first game as a Cav with a shin injury. Luke Babbitt was also absent for the Heat as he exited the game with back spasms. Neither would return.

Miami continued their defensive intensity in the second, really making things difficult for Cleveland in the key. Cleveland began shooting their way into the ball game, but the Heat wouldn’t let up continuing their own offensive assault thanks to some phenomenal play by Goran Dragic and Wayne Ellington. Dion Waiters would also reenter the game and pick up where he left off in the first with some very crafty play. Whiteside was amazing in the second, taking complete defensive control of the key and frustrating the Cavs to the max, it was spectacular to watch. The Cavs would have some great looks in the final minutes to claw their way back into the game going on a 9-1 scoring run, yet Miami maintained control. The Heat would head into the second half up ten.

Cleveland would storm out of the gate at the beginning of the second half and climb back within five points. The Cavs were visibly more intense on defense in an effort to disrupt the flow of the Miami offense. The Heat would remain patient sharing the ball well and scoring consistently as a result. Cleveland would remain steady offensively continuing to chip away at Miami’s lead and keep the game uncomfortably close. Wayne Ellington came alive at the end of the third quarter, hitting three triples and helping the Heat to a 15-4 scoring run. Rodney McGruder would also take full advantage of his inflated minutes showing hustle and hitting his open looks.

It was Goran Dragic who would come out firing to start the fourth scoring 10 points almost immediately. The Heat would continue to excel on offense, but Cleveland wouldn’t go willingly. LeBron James would try to takeover and will Cleveland back into the ballgame sparking a 13-2 run. Miami would go cold in the final minutes, but Dion Waiters would finally unload a bank shot dagger with 12.2 seconds left to cement his vengeance and a well earned Miami Heat victory.