James Scores 47, but Cavs Lose to Heat
Miami 98, Cleveland 92
MIAMI, March 12 (Ticker) -- LeBron James scored 47 points, but was essentially left to carry the Cleveland Cavaliers by himself in the fourth quarter. Dwyane Wade, on the other hand, had plenty of help.
Wade scored 35 points, but it was the play of Alonzo Mourning and Antoine Walker off the bench that rallied the Miami Heat to a 98-92 victory over the Cavaliers.
"Scoring 47 points means nothing if we lose," said James, who made a career-high 24 free throws in 28 attempts. "I think it was a well-fought game, besides us giving up 33 points in the fourth quarter. That's tough. But all in all, if we play that way every night, we'll win a lot of games."
Center Zydrunas Ilgauskas won the center battle against All-Star Shaquille O'Neal, 21-18, but could not contain Mourning. While O'Neal was on the bench in the fourth quarter, Mourning scored six straight points in a decisive 9-0 run.
"All of us need to contribute to get wins," said Mourning, who finished with 16 points and eight rebounds in 23 minutes. "Some nights it's going to be like that. We always look to D-Wade and Shaq, but when our number is called we got to be ready."
O'Neal ended up playing just 2 1/2 minutes in the fourth quarter and left the arena without talking to the media.
"I hated to break up the energy level we had going early in the fourth quarter," Heat coach Pat Riley said.
With Mourning in the game and O'Neal on the bench for the first 7 1/2 minutes of the quarter, the Heat turned a five-point deficit into an 84-77 lead.
The Cavaliers held a 67-52 advantage after a layup by Eric Snow with 3:04 left in the third quarter. But Miami bridged the third and fourth quarter with a 23-7 run as Wade scored eight points.
A 3-pointer by Gary Payton gave Miami its first lead of the game, 75-74, with 8:07 remaining. James connected on a 3-pointer to reclaim the lead for the Cavaliers, but Mourning scored the next six points on a rebound basket and two powerful dunks.
"He (Mourning) came in there in that fourth quarter for about a four or five minute stretch where his intensity and his energy were more hurtful than anything," said Cavaliers guard Damon Jones, who played for Miami last season. "Not only did it energize the crowd, but it energized the other players on his team."
Walker followed Mourning's lead by hitting a jumper, and Wade capped the 9-0 spurt with a free throw, giving the Heat an 84-77 advantage with 4:42 remaining.
After James split a pair of free throws, Walker connected on a 3-pointer to increase the lead to 87-78 with 3:59 left.
James scored 10 points, eight from the free throw line, in the next 3:21 to pull the Cavs within 92-90. But Wade penetrated and dished out to Walker, who hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 18.9 seconds left.
"Dwyane did a great job of finding (Mourning) on pick-and-rolls right under the rim, and then he found Antoine for the backbreaker," Riley said.
Wade punctuated Miami's 11th win in 12 games with a dunk with 5.6 seconds remaining.
"We, of course didn't get the point production that they got from their bench, but I don't look at it as our bench against their bench," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "It was us against them, and (Alonzo) Zo and Antoine were huge in making a difference in this ballgame."
The Cavaliers got only five points from their reserves.
Cleveland raced to a 21-9 lead in the first 8 1/2 minutes as the Heat missed 4-of-18 shots.
The Cavaliers increased the lead to 50-35 on a basket by Ilgauskas with 2:52 left in the second quarter. But Miami closed the half with an 11-1 run to pull within 51-46 as James Posey beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer.