Heat Rally to Extend Streak to 24
By Brian Martin
It was a tale of two halves for LeBron James and the Miami Heat on Wednesday night, as they found themselves trailing by as many as 27 points to the Cleveland Cavaliers before pulling off an epic comeback to keep their win streak alive at 24 games in a row.
The 27-point rally was the biggest deficit ever overcome by a James team and moved the Heat to within nine wins of the NBA record 33-game winning streak by the 1972 L.A. Lakers.
It was a bizarre night before the game even started, as a liquid from the scoreboard was spilling to the floor, causing a 35-minute delay. Then once the game started, the Cavaliers -- playing without Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters -- jumped out to a quick lead, outscoring the Heat 32-24 in the first period. Things got worse for Miami in the second quarter, as they were held to just 10 points and trailed by 21 (55-34) at the half.
Heat Shot Chart: First Half
Cavs Shot Chart: First Half
At the break, James had just six points on 2-of-5 shooting, two rebounds, three assists and four turnovers. As a team in the first half, the Heat shot just 37.5 percent from the field, 20 percent from three, were out rebounded 27-12, had nearly as many turnovers (eight) as assists (nine).
The second half didn't start well for Miami either, as the Cavaliers extended their lead to 27 following a three-point play by Tyler Zeller with 7:44 left to play in the quarter.
Then it happened.
In 9 minutes and 16 seconds of game time, spanning the third and early fourth quarters, the Heat erased the Cavs lead, going on a 37-10 run to tie the game at 77 with 10:28 to play in the quarter.
But the Heat were not done. They continued to run over the next 7 minutes and 26 seconds of game time to take a nine-point lead, their largest of the night, at 95-86 with 3:02 to play.
Heat Shot Chart: 55-19 Run (7:44 3Q to 3:02 4Q)
Cavs Shot Chart: 55-19 Run (7:44 3Q to 3:02 4Q)
Altogether, the Heat went on a 55-19 run in 16 minutes and 42 seconds and James was the catalyst. After a dismal first half, James scored 19 points, grabbed nine rebounds, dished out six assists without a turnover and had three steals during the run. James would finish with a triple-double with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
|LeBron James By Period|
|First Half||Second Half||Total|
As a team, the Heat shot 52.9 percent (18-of-34) during the run and caught fire from the 3-point line, hitting 62.5 percent (10-of-16) from beyond the arc with James, Ray Allen and Shane Battier each hitting three and Mario Chalmers knocking down his only attempt.
While Miami was heating up, Cleveland went ice cold -- shooting just 30.4 percent from the field (7-of-23) and 28.6 percent (2-of-7) from three during the 55-19 run. They also committed eight turnovers, which led to 10 Heat points.
But this undermanned Cavs team was scrappy and would not give up on their chance to end Miami's run at history. After trailing by nine with three minutes to play, the Cavs would go on a 9-2 run of their own over the next 2 minutes and 15 seconds to close the Heat lead to one point with 44 seconds to play.
After a missed jumper by Wade, the Cavs had a chance to take the lead and steal a game that had appeared to be fully in their grasp less than an hour earlier. Wayne Ellington got a decent look, but could not hit the step back jumper. Miami secured the rebound, James was fouled and hit both free throws to make a three-point game with four seconds left.
Cleveland had one last chance to tie it, but a C.J. Miles 3-pointer was well defended by Battier and missed. The buzzer sounded and the Heat had secured their 24th straight win in a game much closer than every thought when they saw it on the schedule.
Heat Shot Chart: Second Half
Cavs Shot Chart: Second Half