MIAMI (NBA.com exclusive) -- There was an incredible amount of star power at AmericanAirlines Arena for Cleveland's 111-104 victory over Miami on Thursday.
NBA icon Michael Jordan sat beside NBA legend Pat Riley in the stands. Scottie Pippen sat in the front row. Former sharpshooter Reggie Miller was doing color analysis for national television. Penny Hardaway, who played briefly with the Heat, was also in the stands. So was Alonzo Mourning, who has a front office job with the Heat.
And then there was the on-court trio of Heat guard Dwyane Wade, Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Cavaliers center Shaquille O'Neal.
But even amongst all that star-studded talent, it was Cleveland guard Mo Williams and Cavs forward J.J. Hickson who were the difference makers.
James led the Cavs with 34 points and O'Neal added 14 points, including a 6-for-10 showing on free throws. But Williams finished with 25 points, 15 of those on his five 3-pointers, and Hickson turned in a career-best 18 points to help Cleveland, which defeated Orlando on Wednesday, complete its Florida sweep.
"I think we really weren't there on the defensive side," said Heat forward Michael Beasley, who finished with a season-best 24 points.
Wade did what he could, scoring 36 points and going 15-for-21 from the free-throw line. Wade, now with Nike's Jordan Brand after switching from Converse during the summer, brought the crowd to its feet with a monster dunk over 6-foot-11 center Anderson Varejao to give Miami a 21-19 lead. It was a play that put a smile on Jordan's face, and also made quite an impression on James, Wade's good friend.
"D-Wade could very easily crack the [NBA's all-time] top 10 with that one," said James, saying it was up there with Jordan over Patrick Ewing, Pippen over Ewing and Tom Chambers over Mark Jackson.
The first quarter ended in dramatic fashion with James barreling down the lane for a dunk, Wade going to the other end and hitting a 3-pointer, and then James, in the final four seconds, going downcourt and hitting a runner in the lane. Cleveland led, 35-33; James had 15 points and Wade had 12.
For a while it stirred memories of their remarkable April Fools Day 2006 battle in which Wade ended with 44 points, eight rebounds and nine assists, and James finished with 47 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in Cleveland's 106-99 victory.
But the two stars settled in and allowed their teammates to do the heavy lifting until the end of the game. Cleveland coach Mike Brown gave high praise to James' aggressive 10-point fourth quarter, which included a 7-for-8 performance from the free-throw line and the Cavs' final nine points.
"It was beautiful, flat-out beautiful," Brown said of James' ending. "Like Picasso."
Williams became a huge factor in the game beginning in the second quarter. His ability to shoot 3-pointers caused problems for Miami just as it did a night earlier for Orlando. Williams was 3-for-3 from 3-point range in the second quarter and 2-for-3 in the third, scoring a total of 19 points in those two periods. Hickson had an 11-point third quarter that helped the Cavs take a 92-84 lead into the fourth quarter.
Miami's previously rock-solid defense, which entered the game third in the NBA in points allowed (88.6), second in field goal percentage (.415) and first in 3-point percentage (.257), had a long night. It allowed its season-high point total.
Still, Miami had enough energy to make a light-hearted run in the fourth quarter.
The Heat closed within 103-99 but James' 3-pointer with 2:41 left gave the Cavaliers a 106-99 lead. Beasley got Miami within 109-102 with a 3-pointer with 1:40 left but it could get no closer because of James.
"We're all disappointed," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "I think we all feel this wasn't anywhere near our best game."
Notes: Shaquille O'Neal, who tied his season best with 10 attempted free throws early in the third quarter, drew a few scattered boos after his first field goal, which was the first of the game... Jermaine O'Neal had a nice showing with 15 points, nine rebounds and two blocks... Heat guard Daequan Cook, who has only played two games because of a right (shooting) shoulder injury, returned to the court but was 0-for-4 from the floor in seven minutes... Among the faces in the crowd were Jordan, Pippen, musician Lenny Kravitz, Miami Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter, former NFL and University of Miami defensive lineman Warren Sapp.