Published February 07, 2012
Chris Bosh finished with 15 points for the Heat, who have won 11 of their last 13 games. Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem each scored 14 for Miami, which starts a stretch of five road games in seven nights at Orlando on Wednesday, then caps the trip with a visit to Cleveland on Feb. 17.
Anderson Varejao had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who were within a point late in the third and then missed 17 of their next 19 shots.
Miami's lead was only 73-72 before the Heat put together their best stretch of the night, with Wade making consecutive baskets to push the lead out to 92-78 midway through the fourth. Wade crossed his dribble over and sealed it with a down-the-lane dunk with just under 2 minutes left, and the Cavs emptied the bench moments later.
Facing a number of injury issues, Cleveland had only 11 players in uniform for the game. Daniel Gibson (neck infection), Tristan Thompson (sprained left ankle) and Anthony Parker (strained lower back) were not with the club, and earlier this week the team waived Mychel Thompson — who had started the Cavs' last three games and scored six points in their win over Dallas on Saturday.
Gibson practiced Monday, then felt some discomfort afterward and did not accompany the team to Miami. Cavs coach Byron Scott does not believe Gibson will be sidelined much longer.
"We felt it wasn't quite in his best interest for him to fly," Scott said. "We've got a stretch of home games coming up. ... We feel pretty comfortable that he's going to be able to play pretty soon."
Short-handed or not, the Cavs gave the Heat all they wanted — just as they did in Miami two weeks ago.
Jamison had 20 points in the first half, his best opening half since March 6, 2010. And whenever it seemed like Miami was about to take off on a run, like when it had a quick 15-8 lead early or a 43-33 edge midway through the second quarter, Cleveland had an answer.
That trend continued in the third.
An 18-9 run by the Cavs to open the second half gave them a 66-63 edge, before the Heat put together a pair of quick bursts — dunks by James punctuating both. He capped a 9-2 run by catching a long pass from Haslem in transition for a five-point lead, and after Cleveland clawed back within one, Chalmers hit a 3-pointer and James followed a missed layup by Battier with a one-handed slam for a 78-72 edge entering the fourth.
With that, Miami had apparently taken Cleveland's best shot.
Starting with that mini-flurry by Miami to close the third, the Cavaliers were outscored 19-6 over an 8-minute span. Wade made back-to-back hoops to give Miami what was its biggest lead at 92-78 midway through the fourth.
Notes: The Heat waived C Mickell Gladness on Tuesday, hours before the deadline for non-guaranteed contracts to become guaranteed. Terrel Harris and Eddy Curry remained with the club, as expected. There's a chance Gladness could return on a 10-day deal, but the Heat are also looking at free agents such as C Joel Przybilla. ... Varejao acknowledged he's a little anxious waiting for Thursday's announcements of the All-Star Game's reserve selections. "I mean, I'm not going to say I'm not. ... If it happens, I'll be really happy," Varejao said. He's got a fan in Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who believes Varejao is worthy of the nod. ... Heat F Juwan Howard celebrated his 39th birthday. "Just a number," Howard said. ... Spoelstra, when asked about the possibility of him coaching the East in the All-Star Game: "It's an awesome event for players."