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(Sunday, February 24th)
Final Score: Miami 109, Cleveland 105
Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Dwyane Wade finished with 24 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter, to help the Miami Heat earn their 11th consecutive victory with a 109-105 decision over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday at AmericanAirlines Arena.
LeBron James poured in a game-high 28 points to go with eight assists for the Heat, who watched a 22-point third quarter lead turn into an eight-point fourth quarter deficit before Wade took over down the stretch.
"It was good for us to show some resiliency down the stretch," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "They kept on coming at us. We had to fight for it."
Mario Chalmers chipped in 16 points to help Miami become the first Eastern Conference team to 40 wins.
Dion Waiters led Cleveland with 26 points, while C.J. Miles made five 3- pointers en route to 19 points for the Cavaliers, who saw their two-game win streak come to an end.
Kyrie Irving added 17 points and five assists in the setback, Cleveland's fifth in a row against the Heat.
"We had an opportunity against the NBA world champions and we lost the game because of mental mistakes," Cavs head coach Byron Scott said.
Miami led, 64-46, at the break before scoring the first four points of the third to take a seemingly comfortable 22-point cushion.
Cleveland responded with 10 straight points to pull within 12, but the Heat quickly pushed the margin to 17 with a 9-4 response.
The Cavs made their run from there, as a three-point play from Irving sparked a 22-4 run that found the visitors holding a one-point edge heading into the fourth.
Irving netted seven in the surge, while Miles provided the final 11 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers that preceded a four-point play to send the Cavs into the fourth holding an 82-81 lead.
Cleveland continued its spurt in the final frame, as the Cavs opened the quarter on a 15-8 push to take a 97-89 lead on Miles' triple with 5:16 remaining.
Wade put the Heat on his back from there, pouring in nine points in an 11-2 Miami run that put the home team on top, 100-99, with 2:43 left.
Waiters answered with a jumper at the other end to put the Cavs back in front, but Shane Battier buried a trey from the left corner to give the Heat a two- point edge with 1:27 left.
After Cleveland came up empty at the other end, Chris Bosh recovered a big offensive rebound before Wade exploded down the lane and threw down a two- handed jam to make it 105-101 with 24.4 ticks remaining.
Waiters responded with a driving layup, but the Heat went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe to hang on for the victory.
"We started making stops and we just turned that other switch on and were able to come away with a win," Wade said. "We don't want to depend on it (turning a switch on) but it is always good to have it."
Miami built its bulky first-half cushion by shooting a red-hot 57.5 percent (23-for-40) from the floor, including 8-of-10 from three-point range, over the opening 24 minutes to carry a 64-46 advantage into the break.
Miami shot 52 percent (39-for-75) from the floor overall to improve to 25-2 when shooting at least 50 percent from the field ... Miami has won nine straight at home and is 24-3 as the host this season ... Cleveland dropped to 8-22 on the road, despite shooting 50 percent (39-for-78) from the field.
02/24 23:20:30 ET
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