Notebook: Heat 98, Cavaliers 95

Posted Mar 21, 2013 12:11 AM

Brian Dulik, for

THE FACTS: The Miami Heat extended the second longest winning streak in NBA history to 24 games by rallying for a 98-95 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Small forward LeBron James scored 19 of his game-high 25 points in the second half as Miami overcame a 27-point deficit. Point guard Mario Chalmers added 17 points for the Heat, which outscored Cleveland 58-28 over the final 19:03. Shooting guard Wayne Ellington led the Cavaliers with 20 points, while power forward Tristan Thompson had 18 points and eight rebounds. Miami is now nine victories away from tying the Los Angeles Lakers' NBA record of 33 straight wins.

QUOTABLE: "This was one of the most bizarre, unique days of my life with everything that happened. It also was one of the best comebacks I've ever been a part of. The streak wasn't on my mind, but us getting blown out was."
-- LeBron James

THE STAT: Miami's comeback from 27 points down represented the largest collapse in the Cavaliers' 43-season history. Cleveland's previous biggest blown lead was 26 points in a 107-105 loss at Phoenix on Nov. 9, 2012. "We caught lightning in a bottle, it wasn't anything we planned out," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "It took some embarrassing minutes and getting down 27 to change our guys' disposition." Miami, which trailed 55-24 at intermission, also set a franchise record for its largest halftime comeback.

TURNING POINT: Center Tyler Zeller converted a three-point play to extend the Cavaliers' lead to 67-40 with 7:44 left in the third quarter, but it was all downhill from there for the home team. Small forward Shane Battier buried three 3-pointers and shooting guard Ray Allen added another in the final five minutes of the third to ignite Miami's epic comeback. "Once Shane made those threes, we were kind of like, 'This is where it gets fun,' because we know we can come back from a deficit," Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade said. "We felt it."

QUOTABLE II: "We knew it was coming. They were the NBA champions last season, they're not going to lay down. Champions don't lay down even when they're down by 27. Their guys went out and made plays, so you have to give them credit."
-- Tristan Thompson

HOT: James posted his fourth triple-double of the season and his 13th all time at Quicken Loans Arena. "The Chosen One" also owns the only two triple-doubles in Cleveland over the last three seasons -- since he left the Cavaliers for the Heat. ... James is 9-1 against Cleveland in his career, including 3-1 on the road. ... The Cavaliers had a 19-0 run in the second quarter, which was the longest unanswered spurt allowed by Miami in 2012-2013. ... Cleveland point guard Shaun Livingston had a season-high tying six assists, along with 14 points. ... Ellington played a career-high 41 minutes and equaled his NBA best with seven rebounds.

NOT: Cavaliers shooting guard C.J. Miles missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer, just six seconds after Ellington misfired on a 23-footer. ... Cleveland power forward Luke Walton was whistled for a lane violation and four fouls in 16 poor minutes. ... The Cavaliers have lost four straight games overall and own the third-worst home record in the NBA at 13-20. ... Cleveland shooting guard Daniel "Boobie" Gibson was forced into action at the point, but did not record an assist in 14 minutes. ... Heat point guard Norris Cole, who graduated from Cleveland State University, failed to score in seven minutes off the bench.

QUOTABLE III: "I thought it was a great effort. Our guys played about as hard as they can play. We just didn't get the job done like I wanted us to, and everyone in that locker room wanted us to. You have to give Miami credit."
-- Cavaliers coach Byron Scott

GOOD MOVE: Cavaliers fans booed James every time he touched the basketball, showing their ongoing displeasure over his departure for Miami via free agency in July 2010. The Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary High product played his first seven pro seasons with Cleveland, winning two NBA MVP awards. "I know how passionate these fans are about their Cavs, Browns and Indians, so I knew they would be loud again tonight," James said, adding with a laugh. "It can't ever get any worse than it was on Dec. 2, 2010 (in his first game back in Cleveland)."

BAD MOVE: The start of the game was delayed by 35 minutes when the Quicken Loans Arena scoreboard began leaking water onto the court. The problem was traced to condensation from a CO2 container that was used to create fog during the Cavaliers' introductions. "Both teams had to deal with the delay, so wasn't a big deal," Spoelstra said. "It had no effect on the way we came out so sluggish tonight." ... A fan ran onto the court during the fourth quarter and told James he wanted him to return to Cleveland as a free agent in 2014.

NOTABLE: The Cavaliers signed point guard Chris Quinn from the NBA D-League's Tulsa 66ers to fill their open roster spot, but he did not play. ... Cleveland played without its top three scorers in All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving (left shoulder sprain), shooting guard Dion Waiters (left knee soreness), and center Anderson Varejao (season-ending right knee surgery). ... The Cavaliers are 62-154 since James left the franchise for Miami. ... The Heat's inactives were both healthy scratches in center Juwan Howard and power forward Jarvis Varnado.

UP NEXT: For the Heat, Friday vs. Detroit, Sunday vs. Charlotte, Monday @ Orlando. For the Cavaliers, Friday @ Houston, Wednesday vs. Boston, March 29 vs. Philadelphia.