Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/12

Game 1: Wednesday, November 12th
Game 2: Wednesday, January 28th
Game 3: Friday, April 9th
Game 4: Saturday, April 10th

Cavaliers 83

(2-6, 0-5 away)

Heat 88

(1-7, 1-2 home)

Coverage: FSOH

7:30 PM ET, November 12, 2003

AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

1 2 3 4 T
CLE 26 20 19 1883
MIA 27 21 24 1688

Top Performers

Cleveland: L. James 18 Pts, 3 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Miami: E. Jones 25 Pts, 5 Reb, 3 Ast

Jones, Odom lead Miami to first 'W'

MIAMI (AP) -- LeBron James had never seen the Miami Heat play before, yet he recognized the style and attitude they displayed Wednesday night.

"The other team is going to be hungry when you haven't won a game," James said. "It felt like us when we were 0-5. We knew they were going to come with it. We just had to match their intensity."

They didn't. Eddie Jones scored 25 points and Lamar Odom added 14 points and 10 assists, helping Miami become the final NBA team to break into the victory column with an 88-83 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Heat lost their first seven games, the franchise's worst start since going 0-17 to open its inaugural season, 1988-89. It was also the first win for Heat coach Stan Van Gundy, whose players marked the occasion by presenting him with the game ball in the locker room.

"We're happy with the win and getting rid of some frustrations," said Jones, who has scored 20 or more points in six straight games. "We stayed the course for the entire 48 minutes."

James had 18 points on 6-of-15 shooting for Cleveland, which lost its 26th straight road game since February and failed in its bid for the franchise's first three-game winning streak since April 2002. Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 20 points for the Cavaliers (2-6) and Carlos Boozer had a game-high 16 rebounds.

Cleveland had plenty of chances down the stretch, as Miami scored only two points in the final 4:26.

"We got a lot of stops," James said. "That shows we're improving. We just didn't convert."

James was stifled on three key possessions, first committing an offensive foul while driving with 2:08 left, then getting a shot blocked by Udonis Haslem with 1:25 remaining. James also failed to handle a quick pass from Ilgauskas with 18.5 seconds left, committing Cleveland's eighth turnover of the final quarter.

"Our worst fears were realized," Cleveland coach Paul Silas said. "You're coming in with a team that has not won at all and they were going to fight and scratch and do whatever it took to win. We were just a step slow all night long."

Cleveland further hurt itself by making only 17 of 30 free throws.

Dwyane Wade added 14 points and Rafer Alston had 10 for Miami, which shot only 34.7 percent in Tuesday's loss at Houston. The Heat shot 45.5 percent -- their second best effort of the season -- against Cleveland.

Miami held Cleveland to one field goal in the final 6:52 of the third quarter, turning a 61-60 deficit into a 72-65 lead entering the final period.

Wade made two big plays to fuel the quarter-ending burst. He rose well above the rim to block James' layup attempt with 5:15 left in the third, sparking a fast-break basket by Haslem for a 66-61 edge.

With 1:09 left in the quarter, Wade rebounded his own missed baseline jumper and put down a two-handed dunk to give Miami a 72-64 lead -- its biggest of the game at that point.

In the fourth, any chance Cleveland had to rally was taken away by turnovers. James was wide open from 18 feet with 4:35 remaining, but never got the chance to shoot after the Cavaliers were whistled for a three-second violation. On Miami's next trip, Jones made a 3-pointer from the right wing for an 86-77 lead.

But Miami made things interesting down the stretch, missing its last five shots and making two turnovers in the final 3:38.

"We were fumbling the thing all over the place," Van Gundy said. "A lot of it had to do with the tightness. We have to play those situations better. It's a learning experience."

Game notes

Miami scored 27 first-quarter points, a season-high for its eight opening periods this season. ... Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer was in the crowd. ... James spent the final moments of halftime reviewing stat sheets at the scorer's table. ... The game was delayed for nine minutes after shot clocks malfunctioned twice late in the third quarter.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 83 88
FGM-FGA 32-71 (.451) 35-77 (.455)
3PM-3PA 2-8 (.250) 5-13 (.385)
FTM-FTA 17-30 (.567) 13-17 (.765)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-42 9-40
Assists 21 21
Turnovers 17 16
Steals 9 10
Blocks 7 3
Fast Break Points 2 6
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (1/1) 20 (0/0)

Top Performers

LeBron James James
Points: 18
Reb: 3
Ast: 7
Stl: 2
Blk: 1
Eddie Jones Jones
Points: 25
Reb: 5
Ast: 3
Stl: 0
Blk: 0