Miami Heat/NBA Professional

Heat Put Clamps On Cavaliers, Miami Wins 98-79

Kelly Olynyk scored a game-high 19 points and Dwyane Wade blocked a pair of LeBron James shots as part of a stifling defensive effort by Miami, and the Heat had little trouble on the way to beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 98-79 Tuesday night.

Wade finished with four blocks, two of them from behind to thwart James, and afterward the close friends got together and laughed like always.

“That’s one thing about us — we don’t brag about what we do against each other,” James said. “We talk about what we do against everybody else.”

Josh Richardson and James Johnson each scored 15 points for Miami, which led 54-34 at halftime and has won 10 of its last 11 home games. Wade finished with 12 against the team he spent part of this season with before getting traded back to Miami.

“We did a great job,” Wade said. “One of our best defensive games since I’ve been here, for sure.”

The Heat held Cleveland to a season-low point total, a shocking number when considering the Cavs had scored 120 in each of their previous four games. James finished with 18 points for the Cavaliers, who were without Kevin Love in the second half because of what was initially diagnosed as a loose tooth and then changed to concussion-like symptoms.

Love, who was hurt 1:22 into the game after taking an elbow from Heat center Jordan Mickey, will be evaluated again Wednesday to see if he needs to enter the NBA’s concussion protocol.

James finished with 18 points for the Cavaliers, whose previous season low for points was 88. The Cavs are 1-13 this season when held under 100; they’re 43-17 when scoring more than 100.

It was the 865th consecutive regular-season game in which James scored at least 10 points, putting him one shy of tying Michael Jordan for the longest such streak in NBA history. James can tie the mark in Charlotte – against the Jordan-owned Hornets – on Wednesday.

Rodney Hood added 15 points for Cleveland. It was Miami’s 14th consecutive home win over the Cavaliers, including a 4-0 mark when James plays in Miami since leaving the Heat after the 2014 NBA Finals.

“This shows the type of defensive team we can be,” Heat guard Goran Dragic said.

Cleveland came in averaging 31 points per quarter over its last five games, then managed only 34 in the first half against the Heat.

Cleveland showed life in the third, getting within 13 late in the quarter. But Miami was still up 75-59 going into the fourth, after Wade – moments after checking in for the first time in about an hour of real-time – connected on a step-back jumper with 17 seconds left in the third.

“That’s why he is who he is,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who was back with the team two days after he and his wife Nikki’s first child – Santiago Ray Spoelstra – was born.

– Associated Press

J.T. Wilcox
J.T. Wilcox is an award-winning sports journalist who has worked in South Florida for more than a decade. He authors "The Bald Predictions" blog and "The Baldcast" podcast.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: