Following a string of impressive victories, the Miami Heat continue their surge and beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 111-87 in Friday night's game. LeBron James, visiting his former team for the first time this season and playing in conditions not nearly as hostile as his first go around in Cleveland, led the Heat with 28 points including a dominating third quarter.
A day after talking to media about being open to a return to Cleveland, James played like it was just another game. After a relatively quiet first half, James went on a scoring tear in the third quarter. Mixing a variety of jump shots, post moves, and 3-point bombs, James scored 16 in the period. He routinely looked into the crowd as he completed alley-oops throughout the game, perhaps trying to rekindle some of the feelings LeBron addressed during Thursday's practice.
It was obvious from the start that the Heat planned on setting an aggressive tone. Dwyane Wade ferociously attacked the basket and set up in the deep post where he connected on easy baskets against the soft interior Cleveland defense. Wade finished with 22 points on only 10 shots and even connected on his first 3-point shot of the season. Chris Bosh took a more assertive role on the glass and with the ball; he notched a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
The Cavaliers were led by rookie Kyrie Irving, who had 17 points but only 2 assists. Ramon Sessions and Tristan Thompson played admirably from the bench, scoring 15 and 12 points, respectively.
The Miami also received substantial contributions from the bench: Norris Cole, Shane Battier, and Mike Miller combined for 21 points and James Jones got some garbage time minutes to practice on his shot in advance of the 3-point shootout on All-Star weekend, he finished with 9 points.
Impressed By: Mario Chalmers. What about Super Mario? He is quietly having a fantastic season shooting the ball, gets named to the 3-point contest, and then nails 4 3-point shots? Chalmers is providing the outside presence the Heat dreamed of when they locked him up with that long-term deal.
Depressed By: Joel Anthony. Don't get me wrong, Joel, or The Warden as he is commonly known as, is one of my favorite Heat players. Nonetheless, going 25 minutes without a shot and only 3 rebounds? The Heat need more enforcement down under from their primary center.
Next Up: The Heat take on the Orlando Magic on Sunday at 3:30 PM. The Heat's last loss was in Orlando and look for the Heat to come out strong in this nationally televised game.