Chris Bosh's big finish helps the Miami Heat top the Cleveland Cavaliers, 92-85
Lynne Sladky, Associated Press
MIAMI — Chris Bosh scored 17 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, LeBron James added 18 and the Miami Heat survived another shaky offensive night to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 92-85 on Tuesday night.
Bosh made 10 of 16 shots and reached the 30-point mark for the fourth time this season for Miami, which improved to 4-1 against Cleveland since James joined the Heat. The 35 points matched Bosh's high since joining Miami.
Kyrie Irving — Cleveland's No. 1 overall draft pick last year and a friend of James, who the Cavaliers drafted No. 1 in 2003 — scored 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting. Samardo Samuels made his first seven shots and finished with 15 points for the Cavs, who got an 11-point, 11-rebound night from Anderson Varejao and 10 points from Ramon Sessions.
Former Cleveland State star Norris Cole scored 10 for Miami, and Udonis Haslem grabbed 10 rebounds for the Heat. Miami committed 18 turnovers, leading to 22 Cleveland points, but found a way — thanks to Bosh — down the stretch.
Bosh made his sixth 3-pointer of the year with 4:26 left, giving the Heat some long-awaited breathing room at 75-67, which actually represented Miami's biggest lead to that point. And after Irving hit a pair of free throws to get Cleveland within three, Bosh went to work again.
He took a pass from James, drove the left side of the lane, got fouled and fell to the court as his shot fell to set up a three-point play. A minute later, Bosh faked Antawn Jamison into the air and making an 18-footer for an 84-76 edge — then pointing to his wife as he happily jogged toward the Heat bench.
Cleveland got within three points twice in the final moments after scores by Irving, but no closer.
Miami improved to 7-1 this season without Dwyane Wade, who missed his fifth straight game with a sprained right ankle. His status remains day-to-day.
It was the fifth meeting between the Heat and Cavaliers since James made his decision to switch jerseys in July 2010. James' first return to Cleveland was one of the signature moments of last season, and the other three matchups between the clubs — while nowhere near the spectacle of that first game — were accompanied by an extraordinary amount of interest and excitement.
This time, Heat vs. Cavs was just another game. No huge media crush, no extra security presence, no hubbub of any kind.
"Looks that way," Cavs coach Byron Scott said before the game. "I think after a year of kind of going through it, I think it's just like any other basketball game right now."
So the game lacked the off-the-court buzz.
In fairness, it was missing any on-court buzz, too.
The teams combined for only slightly more field goals in the first quarter (15) than turnovers (13). The one surprise was Samuels — he had a grand total of four baskets in 2012 entering the game, then posted that many dunks in the first half, coming off the bench to start 5 for 5 and help Cleveland leave for the break with a 39-37 lead.
Here's how offensively troubled the first half was: Cleveland lost two points during intermission.
After a lengthy review after the teams left the floor, referee Tony Brothers ruled that a basket by Jamison with about 49 seconds left came after the shot clock expired, leading to the basket being wiped away and the game getting knotted at 37. Miami shot just 14 of 32 in the half, while Cleveland was only slightly better, going 16 of 34.
Things picked up somewhat in the third, with Irving using a screen to go past James, then leaping through a maze of three Heat defenders for a layup and a 45-43 Cleveland lead. Soon, though, Miami put together its best stretch of the night — a 12-2 run, including James hitting a 3-pointer from about 30 feet as the shot clock expired, and ended up taking a less-than-secure 61-58 edge into the final 12 minutes.
NOTES: Cavs rookie Tristan Thompson missed the game with a sprained left ankle, though is expected to be listed as questionable for Wednesday's game in Cleveland against New York. ... Cleveland returns to Miami Feb. 7, with James' lone scheduled trip back to his former home building this season set for Feb. 17.
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