Heat Hold Off Cavaliers at The Q
Wrap-Up – At the outset, it looked like the reigning MVP and the World Champs would roll against the shorthanded Cavaliers. But the Wine and Gold – sans two starters, including the All-Star Game MVP – scrapped for 48 minutes, before succumbing in the final seconds, with Miami escaping with the 100-96 win on Tuesday night at The Q.
Jarrett Jack scored nine of his team-high 22 points in the fourth quarter, going 3-for-4 from beyond the arc in the final period. He finished the night 8-of-13 from the floor, including 4-of-6 from long-distance, adding four boards and four assists. Dion Waiters, starting in place of the injured Kyrie Irving, led the Cavaliers with a career-best 11 helpers to go with 17 points. Anderson Varejao also doubled-up, coming off the bench to tally 16 points and a game-high 11 boards before fouling out in the closing seconds.
Alonzo Gee, starting in place of an injured Luol Deng, finished with 12 points and a team-high two blocks while having the unenviable task of checking LeBron James all night. Spencer Hawes added 11 points and nine boards and Tristan Thompson rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting.
James notched an arena-record 25 points in the first quarter and had 31 by halftime. But James attempted just eight field goals in the final three quarters, including three in the entire second half. He finished with 43 on the night. Chris Bosh added 21 points for Heat, including a run of nine straight points during a critical late fourth-quarter stretch.
Turning Point – LeBron’s opening salvo knocked the Wine and Gold down but not out on Tuesday night, as the Heat went ahead by two touchdowns midway through the first and by a dozen after one quarter. But the scrappy Cavaliers bounced right back, opening the second period with a 17-3 run to take a two-point edge five minutes into the quarter. Miami didn’t extend their lead to more than five points for almost the remainder of the game, taking a six-point lead with 25.2 to play. But even then, the Cavs didn’t let them get away – with Jarrett Jack canning a three-pointer to keep it a one-possession game.
Game Ball – Anderson Varejao – In just his fifth game back from a sore back, Varejao did a little bit of everything on Tuesday. The Wild Thing was 7-of-11 from the floor and 2-of-2 from the stripe, adding a game-high three steals, an assist and a blocked shot.
By the Numbers – 15.9, 3.7, 1.0 … points, assists and steals that Dion Waiters has averaged since returning from a left knee injury seven games ago.
Quotable – Jarrett Jack, on bouncing back against the Heat …
”(The Heat) are the defending two-time champions for a reason and the effort and the amount of mistakes you can have are definitely limited, especially against a team like that. We kind of put ourselves behind, turned the ball over a few times, but we stuck with it and fought all the way until the end. I can be satisfied with my guys when we put in effort like that.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers difficult three-game homestand continues on Thursday night, when Kevin Durant and the Thunder roll into The Q, looking to avenge a late-February loss in Oklahoma City. On Saturday, James Harden and Dwight Howard come to Cleveland and the following night the Wine and Gold travel to New York for what could be a big Eastern Conference matchup as the season presses towards the home stretch.
Watch Interview: Dion Waiters Postgame