Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 2/1

Game 1: Thursday, February 1st
Game 2: Friday, February 9th
Game 3: Sunday, February 25th
Game 4: Thursday, April 5th

Cavaliers 81

(32-24, 12-16 away)

Heat 86

(27-28, 16-10 home)

    Coverage: ABC

    3:30 PM ET, February 25, 2007

    AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    CLE 19 19 21 2281
    MIA 20 21 18 2786

    Top Performers

    Cle: L. James 29 Pts, 3 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Blk

    Mia: S. O'Neal 19 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Blk

    Heat hold Cavs to dismal 36 percent shooting from field

    Associated Press

    MIAMI -- For the first time in a few days, Dwyane Wade had something to enjoy.

    Shaquille O'Neal had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Miami held Cleveland to 36 percent shooting in beating the Cavaliers 86-81 Sunday -- the Heat's first win since Wade dislocated his left shoulder last week.

    Elias Says

    Miami Heat Cleveland Cavaliers
    Neither side could make its free throws in the Heat's 86-81 win over the Cavaliers. Miami made 15 of 30 foul shots; Cleveland made 10 of 21. It was the first NBA game since the shot clock was instituted in 1954 in which both teams took at least 20 foul shots but neither made more than half of them.

    • Read more Elias Says.

    Jason Kapono added 17 points and 11 rebounds for his second career double-double, and Alonzo Mourning scored 15 points in 18 minutes for the Heat (27-28), who improved to 2-7 without Wade, the reigning NBA finals MVP who suffered the shoulder injury Wednesday and is expected to miss several weeks.

    "We have to make every possession count now," O'Neal said. "There's really no room for mistakes now."

    LeBron James had game-highs of 29 points and seven assists for the Cavaliers (32-24), who fell to 1-12 when shooting less than 40 percent. Larry Hughes added 14 for Cleveland, which also hurt itself by misfiring on 11 of 21 free-throw attempts.

    Cleveland was outscored 48-28 in the paint, 15-6 in second-chance points and 38-18 in reserve scoring. All that allowed the Heat to survive -- despite shooting only 43 percent from the field, 17 percent from 3-point range and 50 percent from the foul line.

    "When you look at that team, it has five or six All-Stars. It's a good team," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "It's a well-coached team. Just because they didn't have Dwyane Wade, I didn't think -- and I hope our team didn't think -- we could come in here and just get a win."

    In terms of field-goal percentage defense, it was Miami's second-best effort of the year -- and best against a team with a winning record. The Heat held the Boston Celtics to 32 percent shooting on Feb. 7.

    Take away James' 10-for-22 effort, and the rest of the Cavaliers shot 21-for-64, or 33 percent.

    "We played, I thought, one of the best defensive games of the year," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "We really have to try to control tempo, slow it down and grind it out defensively, and rebound the basketball. That's going to take a different disposition than we've had in the past."

    The Heat forced Cleveland into missing seven of its first eight shots in the final quarter, breaking a 59-all tie and taking a 71-62 lead with 8:44 left when Mourning scored after grabbing the rebound of a Gary Payton miss.

    O'Neal put the Heat up 77-69 with 5:22 left, driving the lane for a hard dunk as the shot clock wound down.

    "The way Shaq has been playing the last few games, they can definitely compete and definitely make the playoffs," James said.

    James connected on a 3-pointer 34 seconds later, bringing Cleveland within five, but Kapono restored the eight-point margin with 3:35 left when he took O'Neal's pass out of the post and hit a 3-pointer -- ending an 0-for-11 drought from long range for the NBA's 3-point shootout champion and essentially sealing the win.

    "Early in the fourth quarter, we didn't execute as well as we wanted to," James said. "But late in the game, when we had some great looks, we weren't able to get them to go down."

    James Posey added 10 points for Miami, which was 6-for-16 from the foul line in the final quarter -- while Cleveland never got to the line in the final 12 minutes.

    Anderson Varejao had 12 rebounds for the Cavaliers, but had only three points on 1-for-6 shooting. Cavs center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, playing his first game since his wife went into pre-term labor and delivered stillborn twins earlier this month, had eight points and nine rebounds before fouling out with 1:50 left.

    "For some reason, they always turn it on in the fourth quarter, create separation and we're not able to keep up," Ilgauskas said.

    Cleveland went 1-for-15 from the field -- including an 0-for-10 stretch -- during an 11-minute span of the opening half, allowing the Heat to erase an early 18-10 deficit and take a 41-38 lead at the break.

    Both teams shot 8-for-20 in the third, but the Heat warmed up just enough to pull away late and snap a two-game slide.

    "We know we can do it, but we haven't been doing it," Posey said. "When we decide to do it, it's a beautiful thing. When we can play four quarters like that, we'll be a great team."

    Game notes

    Wade will seek a second opinion this week before deciding between rehabilitation or surgery on his dislocated left shoulder. ... James' woes from the foul line continued: He entered as a 68-percent shooter this season, and was 7-for-12 Sunday. ... Cleveland wore orange throwback uniforms from the 1986-87 season. ... Antoine Walker hit his first free throw since Dec. 29, ending an 0-for-10 slump. He's 20-for-60 from the line this season, his .333 percentage the worst among anyone in the league with at least 60 attempts.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 81 86
    FGM-FGA 31-86 (.360) 34-79 (.430)
    3PM-3PA 9-24 (.375) 3-18 (.167)
    FTM-FTA 10-21 (.476) 15-30 (.500)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-47 12-50
    Assists 17 21
    Turnovers 13 14
    Steals 7 3
    Blocks 6 3
    Fast Break Points 15 9
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (0/0) 22 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 8 9

    Top Performers

    LeBron James James
    Points: 29
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Shaquille O'Neal O'Neal
    Points: 19
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1