Jamesí 47 Help Cavs to Seventh Straight Win
Cleveland 106, Miami 99
CLEVELAND, April 1 (Ticker) -- LeBron James had just a little more kick at the end than Dwyane Wade.
James scored 18 of his 47 points in the fourth quarter to offset a season-high 44 by Wade as the Cleveland Cavaliers won their seventh straight game with a 106-99 victory over the Miami Heat.
James and Wade were playing a virtual game of horse during the fourth quarter as they combined for 39 points.
"Wow, you call that an instant classic," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "It's two great players taking over the game for both teams. What a show. I'm happy we won, but I enjoyed watching two great players go back and forth.
"The bigger the moment, both of them stepped up even bigger," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "Sometimes, it's absolutely beyond description. I haven't seen players do that in a long, long time."
James was able to utilize his supporting cast, however, while Wade was forced to do it all for the Heat down the stretch. No other Heat player scored during the final seven minutes of the game. But Cleveland's bench alone scored 18 in the quarter, including three 3-pointers from former Heat guard Damon Jones.
"We just went out and played hard," James said. "Dwyane Wade and I are competitors. A lot of people hate to see that one of us has to lose, but I'm glad that I won tonight."
After Wade's 3-pointer gave Miami an 80-73 lead, James and Jones teamed up to hit three 3-pointers on Cleveland's next three possessions to tie the game at 82-82 with 8:41 to play.
"This was playoffs personified," Jones said. "This felt like the Eastern Conference Finals last year (with Miami)."
Wade scored on a drive with just under three minutes left to give Miami a 96-95 lead. But James countered with a long jumper and a fast-break layup before Wade tied the game with a three-point play with 84 seconds to play.
"One-on-one matchup, it's probably the best matchup I've been in," Wade said. "Two guys going back and forth, doing what they can do to help their team win, whether it's rebounding or passing, diving on the floor, whatever it takes to win. And this ranks up there as the best one so far."
James then connected on a runner nine seconds later and, after a miss by Wade and a defensive rebound, James got an offensive rebound off a 3-point miss by Donyell Marshall and fed the forward underneath for a jam and a 103-99 lead with 39 seconds left.
"Second chances hurt us," Wade said. "They got a couple of second chance rebounds on us and that was the difference in us making the plays at the end."
With 12 rebounds and 10 assists, James recorded his sixth triple-double of the season and 10th of his career.
It marked James' fifth straight game scoring more than 35 points. He scored 46 points in a 107-94 triumph on Wednesday that clinched the Cavaliers' first playoff berth since 1998.
"I can't say enough about (James)," Brown said. "He makes me look like I can coach. He waved me off so many times, called a play and got us over the hump. I should've just sat down and just let him get his triple-double and coach the team."
Cleveland (43-29) moved 5 1/2 games in front of Washington for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers are 14 games above .500 for the first time since the end of the 1993 season.
"I think we are ready (for the playoffs)," James said. "But we are not going to take these last 10 games for granted. We are going to go out and play hard and try to hold on to this fourth spot. That is our goal right now, and we just want to get ready for the playoffs."
Wade finished 18-of-36 from the floor and added eight rebounds and nine assists.
"It was great for the game," Wade said. "It was two young guys trying to propel their teams to a win and it happened to me and LeBron. It was great, I had fun, I know he had fun. My competitive nature came out."
Udonis Haslem had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Heat (48-24), who clinched their second straight Southeast Division crown Friday when Washington lost to Houston.