Cavaliers 94, Heat 93
CLEVELAND (AP)—Ira Newble didn’t slap any hands until after his game-winning block.
Newble swatted away Dwyane Wade’s layup in the final second, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 30 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers matched their win total from last season by defeating the Miami Heat 94-93 Wednesday night.
Wade, returning to the lineup after missing 13 games with a sprained wrist, had his short shot underneath knocked out of bounds by Newble as Cleveland improved to 17-28.
“I got it,” Newble said, insisting he didn’t foul Wade. “And it felt great.”
Wade remained face down on the floor for more than a minute before getting up, and then the rookie from Marquette stormed off complaining he was fouled.
“I thought I had the layup, and then something happened,” Wade said. “Somebody pushed me. I was just mad.”
Boozer, averaging 23 points and 16 rebounds in his last five games, left the team to attend a family funeral.
Ilgauskas finished 14-of-16 from the field for the Cavs, who went 4-1 on a homestand.
“I kind of knew it was going to be my night. The first shot I threw up bounced five times and went in,” Ilgauskas said.
With 37 games left, Cleveland, which hasn’t made the postseason since 1998, is just two games out of the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“That feels great,” James said. “That’s why they drafted me, to get this thing turned around. It’s all coming together.”
Wagner missed a 3-pointer with 15 seconds remaining, but Kevin Ollie got the long rebound and gave it back to his teammate. Wagner had to avoid two players on the floor in the lane as he dropped in a high-arching layup with 7.9 seconds to go.
“I had to make that one,” Wagner said. “I thought the 3 was going in. I got another chance and had to do it.”
On Miami’s final possession, the Heat nearly threw the ball away before it was recovered near midcourt by Jones. He drove the lane, but instead of trying a shot, delivered a pass through traffic to Wade.
Newble was in position and blocked it from behind.
“I dropped back and read the play,” he said. “This win was all about defense.”
Ilgauskas made all seven of his attempts in the first half before missing a jumper on his first try after halftime. He also had 11 rebounds.
“Z is the key to this team,” said James. “He led us the whole game.”
James got Allen to bite on a ball fake and drove the lane for a monster, two-handed dunk while being fouled by Odom. His free throw gave the Cavs, who trailed by 11 points early in the period, a 92-88 lead with 3:00 left.
Jones responded with a 3-pointer for the Heat, who scored just 14 points in the fourth.
Boozer had planned to fly back from the funeral and arrive right before tipoff. However, after traveling to Washington D.C. for the funeral, he decided to remain with his grieving mother.
It was Cleveland’s first win in seven games this season without Boozer, who missed six games with an ankle sprain.
The Heat were without center Brian Grant, who didn’t make the trip because of a bruised left knee and tendinitis in his right knee. Miami coach Stan Van Gundy said he doesn’t know how long his second-leading rebounder will be out.
Allen started in Grant’s place and matched a season-high with 14 points.
With Ilgauskas making all six of his shots, the Cavaliers built a 14-pointlead in the first quarter.
The Cavs went 17-65 a year ago. … All-Star reserves will be named next week, and Cavs coach Paul Silas said James ought to be one of them. “He should (make it),” Silas said. “He’s putting up the numbers and we’re winning. In my mind, he certainly deserves it.” … Jones scored his 11,000th career point in the third quarter. … Silas was surprised by Boston coach Jim O’Brien’s resignation. “It was a big shock,” said Silas, who wouldn’t speculate that O’Brien’s quitting had anything to do with the six-player trade the Celtics made with the Cavs earlier this season. “I’m sure he had hisreasons,” Silas said. … TV journalist Geraldo Rivera attended the game.