Heat escape Cavs with late rally, 110-108

Heat escape Cavs with late rally, 110-108
November 24, 2012, 10:27 pm
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Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (1) goes up for a shot against Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

(APWF)

MIAMI (AP) Ray Allen took a pass from LeBron James and made a 3-pointer with 18.2 seconds left, and the Miami Heat rallied from a seven-point deficit in the final 1:52 to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 110-108 on Saturday night.

James finished with 30 points for the Heat, who remained perfect at home despite leading for only 2 minutes, 29 seconds. Chris Bosh scored 23 points, Dwyane Wade added 18 and Allen finished with 17 - 15 in the fourth quarter - for the Heat, who lost Shane Battier in the third quarter to a sprained right knee.

Cleveland had a good look at the lead, but Wade blocked Jeremy Pargo's jumper with 3 seconds left, and Allen added one free throw to stretch the lead to two. Cleveland controlled the rebound with 0.6 seconds left, but never got anything near the rim.

The Heat were down 108-101 with 1:58 left, then scored the final nine points.

Of the nine Cleveland players who logged minutes, everyone but Tyler Zeller scored at least 10 points. Pargo and Dion Waiters each scored 16 for Cleveland, which got 15 from Omri Casspi, 13 from Tristan Thompson, 12 from Alonzo Gee, 11 from Gibson, a 10-point, 15-rebound night from Anderson Varejao, and 10 more points from CJ Miles.

Cleveland controlled virtually the entire game, and led by eight midway through the fourth. James and Allen made consecutive 3-pointers to start a Heat flurry, and a free throw by Wade with 3:09 left tied it at 101-all.

But Varejao tipped in a rebound on the next Cleveland trip, Waiters hit two free throws after a clear-path foul against Mario Chalmers, and the Cavs seemed to have all but sealed it on a 3-pointer by Gibson for a 108-101 edge.

The Cavs were thrilled.

It was temporary, as the Heat found a way to survive and move to 6-0 at home, on a night where Cleveland went 14 for 31 from 3-point range.

The second quarter could be summed up by one stat-sheet disparity: While Miami was 5 for 13 from the floor in the period, Cleveland was 6 for 13 - from 3-point range alone.

Sure enough, 3s were wild for the Cavs in the first half.

Casspi's beat-the-clock try from beyond the arc gave Cleveland a 29-26 lead after one quarter, and the Cavs just kept firing. Cleveland held the lead for the entire second quarter, stretching it to 59-48 at the break after an 8-0 run - fueled by 3s from Casspi and Pargo. The Cavs were 10 of 19 from beyond the arc in the half.

And even when the Heat remembered to defend the 3, the plan backfired.

Wade fouled Gee behind the stripe with 9:48 left in the third, Gee connected on all three free throws, and Cleveland held a 65-53 lead - then its largest of the night. The lead was still 12 when the Heat made their first big run, scoring 11 straight to get within 68-67 when Battier made a 3-pointer from the left corner.

But on the next Cleveland possession, Battier landed awkwardly while defending at the rim, remained down for a few moments, then awkwardly ran into the Miami locker room.

A few minutes later, the Heat called Battier's injury a slight right knee sprain, saying it would end his night.

Miami tied the game three times late in the third, still unable to go back on top. And whenever Cleveland needed breathing room in the fourth, the Cavs went to the 3-pointer - Miles connected for a six-point Cavs lead, and Waiters made another with 8:36 left for an 89-83 edge.

That's when James re-entered the game. The Heat loaded up for another fourth-quarter rally, like the one they needed Wednesday against Milwaukee.

NOTES: Miami entered the night having allowed the third-most 3-point tries in the NBA this season, behind only Denver and Houston, teams that had each played one more game than the Heat. ... Injured Cavs G Kyrie Irving was on the court about an hour before the game, doing some work and greeting Battier - a fellow Duke product. ... Miami debuted its ``White Hot'' uniforms, one of several outfits the Heat will don for various games this season. ... Former NFL star Thomas ``Hollywood'' Henderson, who spent most of his career with the Dallas Cowboys, sat courtside.