Cavs 97, Heat 90 --This is my fifth year on the Cavs beat and it's the first time I've written about a win here at the AmericanAirlines Arena. I remember my first game here when the Heat were 0-7 and they got their first win with Dwyane Wade. There were like 10,000 people here, maybe, and the upper deck was behind a curtain like it was a WNBA game. Anyway, it's been awhile since the Cavs left here with a win. --The Heat lost this game, and therefore the Cavs won it, because they could not get stops down the stretch and the Cavs did. Wade was awesome with 42 points including the last 18 the Heat scored but he was getting no help at either end. The Cavs held Miami to 8-of-21 shooting in the fourth. --This game reminded me of that game last season when Wade got 40 on the Cavs here because Mike Brown refused to change his defense when it was getting burned time and time again. That time it was on the high pick-and-roll. Tonight Wade was killing the Cavs 1-on-1 even with James on him and Mike just kept doing it. He said he didn't want to double because he was afraid of giving up 3s but the Cavs were doubling Shaq the whole second half and he couldn't even jump. --LeBron didn't play great down the stretch, he was just 1-of-6 in the fourth. He did, however, play very well in the third when the game really turned in the Cavs favor. It was a big step for the Cavs to win, even against a terrible team, without James carrying them down the stretch. --You know Damon Jones loved sticking it to Pat Riley late in the game with his eight points in the fourth. He's still upset Riley wouldn't match the Cavs contract offer three years ago. He once again proved tonight that he can be a good contributor when given time. Also, I have noticed that he's really working hard on the defensive end. That will never be a strongsuit but he's giving effort. As for the mohawk.....um, no. --Sasha Pavlovic played his best game in weeks tonight...10 points and four assists. Is that a big game? Anyway, LeBron was talking last week about how Sasha is a completely different player when he plays with confidence. As soon as he hit his first jumper tonight, he started getting more and more involved in the offense and passing. Last season the Cavs always used to call the first play of the game for him to try and get him started. Tonight LeBron was directly looking for him when he got hot, ignoring other open players. LeBron wants Sasha to succeed and he wants to help and Sasha just playing with confidence makes a difference. --So some writers here in the press room were just talking and we were comparing Wade's current situation with that of Kevin Garnett with the Wolves, Paul Pierce with the Celtics and LeBron's first year in Cleveland. And what do all those teams have in common? Ricky Davis!
Note: Due to a computer virus I've picked up on this road trip, I will be unable to do an in-game blog tonight. It's been a real bummer dealing with it over the weekend down here in sunny Florida, let me tell you. So my sincere apologies, I'll be back after the game.
Pregame Starting lineups
Cavs: Larry Hughes, Sasha Pavlovic, LeBron James, Drew Gooden, Zydrunas Ilgauskas Heat: Jason Williams, Dwyane Wade, Dorell Wright, Udonis Haslem, Shaquille O'Neal
Officials Eddie Rush, Bill Kennedy, Rodney Mott
--Big-time trap game. Heat have lost 13 straight but have been playing better. They should've won their last two games down here. Believe it or not, four of the starters are the same from the NBA title team. --Miami is one of the worst defensive teams in the league, especially defending the 3-point line. If the Cavs move the ball well, they will get good shots. --Cavs haven't won here in the LeBron era and they've blown some big leads. Been quite a bad run. Nine straight losses overall here at AAA.
Stars LeBron, 28 points, five assists Ilgauskas, 13 points, 11 rebounds Wade, 42 points, seven assists
Quotes: LeBron: "We're just a better team, we know how to win games late. D. Wade tried to will his team to victory but we made more plays." Wade: "We are going to win one day...I have a nice chiseled frame." Ok, ok, those are from two different questions, but it's still funny.