The Cleveland Cavaliers recovered after giving up a 23-point second-half lead to beat the Miami Heat for the first time in four attempts since LeBron James left for Florida.
The Cavaliers ended Miami’s run of five straight wins, sending the Heat to their second defeat in 10 National Basketball Association games with a 102-90 victory at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland last night.
“We got exactly what we deserved,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters. “They played harder than we did.”
James had 27 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists for the Heat.
J.J. Hickson scored 21 points for Cleveland as the Cavaliers made 56 percent of their field goal attempts to win for the fourth time in 14 games this month. Anthony Parker added 20 points for the home team.
Miami leads the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference by four games over the Orlando Magic and has already clinched a playoff spot. The Heat have the sixth-best record in the league at 51-23, while Cleveland, which lost a record 26 straight games earlier this season, is last in the NBA with a 15-58 mark.
Miami routed Cleveland 118-90 on Dec. 2 in James’s return to the city where he spent seven seasons before leaving as a free agent in July. The result “left a bad taste in my mouth,” Cavaliers coach Byron Scott told reporters.
“They embarrassed us, and I was still a little ticked off by what happened,” Scott said. “This was a great win.”
Last night, the Cavaliers held a 53-42 advantage at halftime and led 71-48 with 4 minutes, 45 seconds to play in the third quarter.
Miami tied it 83-83 with 7:01 to play in the game and didn’t score again until 2:38 remained, as the Cavaliers took a 95-83 lead.
Two-time reigning NBA Most Valuable Player James scored the final seven points for the Heat. Dwyane Wade had 24 points and Mike Bibby added 23 for Miami. Chris Bosh was limited to 10 points, going 5-for-14 on field goal attempts.