Notebook: Heat 96, Cavaliers 95

Posted Apr 15, 2013 11:49 PM

Brian Dulik, for

THE FACTS: Point guard Norris Cole collected a season-high 16 points, a career-high 11 rebounds, and a career-high nine assists in leading the Miami Heat to a 96-95 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Small forward Rashard Lewis paced the Heat with 19 points, while shooting guard Ray Allen added 11 points and six assists off the bench. Power forward Tristan Thompson, All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, and shooting guard Dion Waiters scored 16 points apiece for the Cavaliers. Cole stole the ball from Irving on the final possession of the game to give Miami its franchise-record 65th win of the season.

QUOTABLE: "I pride myself on being a good defensive player, and Kyrie is obviously a good offensive player. It's fitting it would come down to that. I wanted to stay between him and the basket, and I had a chance to strip the ball -- and I did."
-- Heat point guard Cole.

THE STAT: Miami won the game despite playing without six of its top seven players -- led by its "Big Three" of small forward LeBron James (right hamstring), shooting guard Dwyane Wade (right knee), and power forward Chris Bosh (right knee) -- who were averaging a combined 83.7 points. Also not in uniform for the Heat were point guard Mario Chalmers (right ankle), power forward Udonis Haslem (right ankle), and small forward Shane Battier (left knee). As a result of Miami's depleted roster, 40-year-old power forward Juwan Howard made his first NBA start since April 14, 2010.

TURNING POINT: With the Heat holding a 96-95 lead with 14.2 seconds left, Cole was intentionally fouled by Cavaliers point guard Shaun Livingston. The former Cleveland State standout went to the foul line, but missed both free throws. "I wanted to do something to make up for that," he said. Cole did just that, as soon as the Cavaliers inbounded the ball to Irving with 13.9 ticks remaining. When Irving attempted to drive around him with three seconds left, Cole poked the ball away for the game-saving steal, then ran out the rest of the clock.

QUOTABLE II: "Look at (Miami's) roster. They're not scrubs. They might not have had LeBron or D-Wade or Bosh or some other guys tonight, but a lot of these guys are champions and can start on other teams."
-- Cavaliers power forward Thompson.

HOT: Heat center Joel Anthony set season highs with 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting, nine rebounds, and 32 minutes. ... Howard had seven points and two boards in 19 minutes. He entered the evening with two points and three rebounds in 14 minutes on the season. ... Cavaliers rookie shooting guard Waiters racked up 16 points, three rebounds, and four assists without a turnover off the bench. ... Thompson notched his 31st double-double of the campaign with 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. The second-year pro also grabbed eight offensive boards, giving him a Cleveland record 304 on the season -- five more than the former franchise mark set by current Cavaliers executive Zydrunas Ilgauskas in 2004-2005.

NOT: The Cavaliers finished the season with a 14-27 record at Quicken Loans Arena, which is the third-worst mark in the NBA. ... Irving has made 48-of-138 (34.8 percent) field goal attempts in six games since returning from a sprained left shoulder. He also sprinted off the court immediately after the final horn, instead of taking part in a Fan Appreciation Night ceremony with Cleveland's other 14 players. A Cavaliers official reported that Irving rushed off for treatment on his bruised right heel, but the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year contradicted that claim before his postgame press conference. ... Cleveland rookie center Tyler Zeller recorded two rebounds and no blocked shots in 20 minutes.

QUOTABLE III: "A bruised right heel? That's what I have? Oh, when was someone going to tell me that? I'm hurt again. Damn. How long am I going to be out, 4-6 weeks?"
-- Cavaliers point guard Irving.

GOOD MOVE: Heat coach Erik Spoelstra gave natural shooting guards Cole and Allen the keys to Miami's offense, which they ran beautifully. They combined for 15 assists, and dominated their matchups with Irving and Cavaliers shooting guard Wayne Ellington. Miami trailed by 11 points midway through the second quarter, but would lead by 12 early in the fourth. "Guys understand what makes us successful, and that's from one to 15 on our team," Spoelstra said. "Regardless of who plays, there is a Miami Heat pride that comes in and competes."

BAD MOVE: The Cavaliers, who are 64-165 since James fled to Miami as a free agent in July 2010, offered buy-one, get-one free tickets for the game on a recent Fox Sports Ohio telecast. Not only did the deep discount promotion offend some Cleveland season-ticket holders, it failed to sellout the building for a game against the defending NBA champions. An announced crowd of 19,091 was in attendance at Quicken Loans Arena. "This is a big summer for all of us," Irving said. "We all need to move forward and to progress."

NOTABLE: Cavaliers coach Byron Scott, whose job is rumored to be in jeopardy, spoke about his future following the game. "I am going to be back to coach (next season)," he said. "I've got a year left on my contract, so unless I'm told different, I expect to do that." ... Cleveland did not have the services of shooting guard C.J. Miles (concussion, forehead laceration), power forward Luke Walton (right ankle sprain), and center Anderson Varejao (season-ending right knee surgery). ... Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert sat courtside, next to Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Phil Taylor and several other local professional athletes.

UP NEXT: For the Heat, Wednesday vs. Orlando, Saturday/Sunday vs. Milwaukee in NBA playoffs. For the Cavaliers, Wednesday @ Charlotte, May 21 @ NBA Draft Lottery.