LeBron James added 21 points and 13 rebounds in his second meeting against his former team, while Chris Bosh provided 16 points.
“I knew I didn’t have it going as far as shooting, so I just tried to concentrate on rebounding the basketball and do other things to help us win,” said James, who shot 5-for-15. “That’s the luxury of being on this team.”
Back on December 2, in the teams’ first meeting of the season and James’ first game back in Cleveland, Miami took a 118-90 victory. At that point in the season, the Heat were still trying to become the dominant team many predicted they would be, as the win improved their record to 12-8.
Since that game, the Heat have earned seven consecutive victories, have ascended to the top of the Southeast Division and are now on their first 10- game winning streak since 2005-06 — the season they won the NBA title.
Cleveland, meanwhile, is heading in the opposite direction, having lost its ninth in a row. Daniel Gibson led the Cavaliers with 26 points, including four treys, while Anderson Varejao ended with 18 points and 15 boards.
Wade scored 17 of his points in the final 12 minutes, including the Heat’s first seven points of the quarter.
Miami’s Mario Chalmers hit a three with just under 10 minutes left, and after a miss at both ends of the court, Wade drilled an 18-foot turnaround jumper from the left side. The shot gave the Heat an 85-76 advantage, their largest to that point.
Miami extended its lead to double digits, and seemed to be in total control with 4:22 to play. After Joel Anthony blocked an Antawn Jamison shot, Wade drilled a three at the other end and started to look at his right hand, as though in disbelief at how hot it was.
The shot had put Miami ahead 95-81, but that was the Heat’s largest lead of the game. Cleveland followed Wade’s shot with eight consecutive points, getting within six when Gibson drilled a three with 2:09 on the clock.
The Cavaliers then climbed within 96-93 with 1:33 left, when Jamison made two foul shots. But Cleveland missed its next two shots, and Miami secured the win with free throws.
“I think the effort was due to us losing eight straight games, period. We wanted to win a game,” said Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott.
Cleveland held a 26-24 edge after a close opening quarter, then went on a 12-0 in the second. Antawn Jamison capped it with a three-pointer to give the Cavaliers a 47-37 advantage with three minutes left.
However, the Heat scored the final seven points of the half to get within 49-46 at the break.
The teams fought for control in a tight third quarter, and late in the period Miami took a 70-64 lead on James Jones’ three-pointer from the right corner. But the Cavs rallied to get within 73-71 moving to the fourth.
Wade, who suffered a left wrist injury in the fourth quarter but remained in the game, has scored at least 25 points in the past seven contests…Chalmers scored 14 points for Miami, while Jones added 11…James also dished out five assists, recording his career 4,000th in the first quarter…Jamison provided 15 points for the Cavs, while Mo Williams had 13, but shot 6-for-20 — including 1-for-10 from three-point range.