Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 12/28

Game 1: Sunday, December 28th
Game 2: Tuesday, December 30th
Game 3: Monday, March 2nd
Game 4: Saturday, March 7th

Cavaliers 95

(26-5, 10-5 away)

Heat 104

(17-13, 11-5 home)

    Coverage: NBATV

    7:30 PM ET, December 30, 2008

    AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    CLE 19 15 33 2895
    MIA 26 24 24 30104

    Top Performers

    Cleveland: L. James 38 Pts, 2 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Blk

    Miami: M. Chalmers 21 Pts, 3 Reb, 8 Ast, 3 Stl

    Despite 38 points, LeBron's pro record on birthdays falls to 0-3

    Associated Press

    MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade embraced LeBron James after the final horn sounded, whispering a birthday greeting into his close friend's ear.

    Fast Facts

    • LeBron James played on his birthday for the third time in his career. The Cavs have lost all three games.

    • Cleveland had its six-game winning streak snapped. The Cavs are now 0-4 on the road against Eastern Conference teams currently over .500.

    • The Heat have now won 10 of their last 11 home games against the Cavs.

    -- ESPN research

    Even with that, it wasn't a happy 24th for King James.

    Wade had 21 points and 12 assists, Mario Chalmers was 6-for-7 from 3-point range in a 21-point, eight-assist, no-turnover effort, and the Miami Heat dropped James' pro record on birthdays to 0-3 by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-95 on Tuesday night.

    "It's sad," James said. "I'm going to cry."

    No, he wasn't serious.

    But during a scintillating second half, James seemed as though he was going to put a damper on Miami's collective mood.

    Fittingly, he scored 24 of his game-high 38 points after intermission, almost enough to rally Cleveland from a 16-point deficit -- its largest of the season. He hit a 3-pointer with 8:55 remaining to get the Cavs to 78-77, then turned and had something to say to the Miami bench, something he did often Sunday, when Cleveland erased a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the visiting Heat.

    Only this time, Miami got the last word.

    A surprising switch to zone defense not only stopped Cleveland's offense in its tracks, it sparked a 16-3 run over a 4-minute stretch of the final quarter -- the final blow in handing the Cavs just their fifth loss in 31 games this season.

    "We weren't into a nice birthday present this time around for LeBron," Wade said. "He got one the other night in Cleveland."

    Daequan Cook scored 17 points -- with all five field goals being 3-pointers, meaning he and Chalmers combined to go 11-for-14 from beyond the arc -- for the Heat. Shawn Marion (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Udonis Haslem (13 points, 10 rebounds) added double-doubles for Miami.

    "We have to give their young cats, Cook and Chalmers, credit," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "They stepped up and hit big shot after big shot."

    Delonte West scored 20 for Cleveland, which had won six straight, and Mo Williams added 10 for the Cavaliers.

    Chalmers hit a 3-pointer with 7:11 left, then stripped James and went in for an easy layup, part of a 9-0 run that gave Miami an 87-77 lead. Later, Chalmers hit Cook for a 3-pointer, putting the Heat up by 14, and the sellout crowd bellowed as the rookie guard from Kansas pointed skyward and Wade pumped a fist in celebration.

    Miami, the NBA's worst team last year, has already beaten two legitimate title contenders -- the Lakers and now the Cavaliers -- at home this season.

    "It's a long season. We've still got a couple tough teams coming in," Haslem said. "But obviously, one thing you do want to do throughout the season is take care of home."

    Wade didn't need to do all the scoring: He was 7-for-23 from the floor.

    But like James, he also played the entire second half, quarterbacking everything Miami did.

    "I told him during the first timeout, 'This is your rest. Enjoy it,"' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "If James wasn't coming out, neither was he."

    If there was a hangover from wasting a chance to spoil Cleveland's still-perfect home record Sunday night, the Heat didn't show it in the early going.

    Wade came up with the first highlight, diving out of bounds to save the ball, then taking a seat in a fan's lap as Chalmers hit a 3-pointer for a quick 13-9 lead. And at intermission, Miami seemed to have Cleveland totally befuddled - the Cavs shot 10-for-32 in the first half and faced their biggest deficit of the season, 50-34.


    Not hardly -- not with James around.

    Cleveland shot 72 percent, more than doubling its first-half showing, in the third quarter, with James getting 14 points and two assists. The Cavs closed the third on a 10-2 run, with James getting eight of those points, to set up a wild finish.

    "They had us pretty good at halftime, but to our credit we got it down to one," James said. "We just couldn't finish it."

    Game notes

    Wade went out with James and his close friends Monday night for a birthday party, but didn't get a gift. "He's got more money than me," Wade said. ... Plenty of celebrities were in the seats, including playoff-bound Miami Dolphins Channing Crowder, Joey Porter and Ronnie Brown, actor Jamie Foxx, Dolphins great Dan Marino, Olympic swimmer Dara Torres and singer Kelly Rowland. ... For the first time this season, the Heat had 15 healthy players at the morning shootaround. Forwards James Jones (wrist) and Dorell Wright (knee) are working their way back from injuries and aiming to make season debuts in the coming weeks.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 95 104
    FGM-FGA 33-71 (.465) 34-76 (.447)
    3PM-3PA 11-30 (.367) 11-18 (.611)
    FTM-FTA 18-25 (.720) 25-32 (.781)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-33 10-42
    Assists 17 26
    Turnovers 13 13
    Steals 6 8
    Blocks 7 2
    Fast Break Points 9 17
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (1/0) 20 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 4 16

    Top Performers

    LeBron James James
    Points: 38
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2
    Mario Chalmers Chalmers
    Points: 21
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0