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Allen comes to Heat's rescue against Cavaliers

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- Ray Allen stole the show -- again.

Saturday night was the first time LeBron James played his former team as a reigning NBA champion. And even though the Heat star had a game-high 30 points, it was Allen who made the biggest scoring plays late to help the Heat rally to a 110-108 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Trailing 108-101 with 1:58 left, the Heat started their rally with a layup by James and a three-point play by Allen. Then, with 18.2 seconds left, Allen hit a 3-pointer from the right elbow to give the Heat a 109-108 lead, their first advantage since the opening quarter. James got the assist on Allen's basket.

"That's a damn good question," Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said when asked how Allen was able to get free for his 3-pointer. "One of the biggest things we have to work on is communication. We leave Ray Allen, the best shooter in the world probably, wide open for a 3.

"It just can't happen. It's just a bunch of little things that are keeping us from closing games out."

Scott said rookie guard Dion Waiters failed to check Allen on the game-winning shot. Scott also said that Daniel Gibson and Alonzo Gee are his best defenders.

Gibson was on Allen for much of the game and did a "heck of a job," Scott said. But the coach said Gibson was needed defensively against Dwyane Wade on that final sequence.

"(Gibson and Gee) can't guard everybody," Scott said. "And Wade is probably even more dangerous."

After Allen's shot, Wade, playing with a migraine headache, made the defensive play of the night, blocking a shot attempt by Jeremy Pargo, who had gotten in the lane.

"Dwyane is the best undersized three in the league," Heat forward Chris Bosh said of Wade, who moves to small forward in certain rotations.

There were 3.6 seconds left when Wade made his block. Allen retrieved the ball and was fouled with 2.6 seconds left. He made his first free throw. When he missed the second, the Cavs got the rebound but were left with only six-tenths of a second -- not enough time for a shot.

"Cleveland played a very good game," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "They did enough to put themselves in position to win on the road. But our guys relish those moments in the fourth quarter."

The Heat improved to 10-3 overall and 6-0 at home. The Heat, Utah Jazz (5-0) and New York Knicks (4-0) are the only teams with perfect home records so far this season.

The Heat's overall win streak was extended to four. They are now 4-3 when trailing after three quarters.

It was also James' 34th straight game with at least 20 points, including playoffs.

Bosh had 23 points. Wade, who had just 5 points at halftime, finished with 18, and Allen had 17.

Defensively, though, the Heat had some rough spots, allowing the Cavs to make 14 of 31 3-pointers (45.2 percent). Ten of those 3-pointers came in the first half, though, so there was improvement late.

The Cavs fell to 3-10, including 1-8 on the road.

Cleveland, led by Pargo and Waiters with 16 points each, had eight scorers in double figures.

A particular bright spot was 6-9 forward Omri Casspi, who came off the bench and scored 15 points. He made 4-of-4 3-pointers, which was surprising because he had only made six long-range shots all season entering the game.

"Guys are helping me," Casspi said. "I know my game and what I need to do. My teammates are doing a great job of getting me the ball in the right places."

Cleveland's Anderson Varejao had a game-high 15 rebounds. Varejao leads the NBA in rebounds (14.0 entering Saturday) and offensive boards (5.6).

The Cavs closed the first half on an 8-0 streak and went into the break with a 59-48 lead. But the Heat used a 13-1 third-quarter run to get back into the game. James had 14 points in the quarter, and the Cavs managed to hold a slim 79-77 lead.

In the end, it all came down to James finding Allen for the game-winner.

"LeBron is our biggest passer, so he can see over the defense," Spoelstra said. "Ray is constant movement, so whenever the defense turns their head, he runs into the passing lane, and you see him right in front of you.

"It's an incredible skill he has. Everyone talks about his shooting. But it's his movement to get into open spaces."

NOTES: Cavs starting wing guard Alonzo Gee, who is a native of South Florida and played his high school ball at Dwyer in Palm Beach Gardens, had 25 friends and family members at the game. Gee finished with 12 points and 5 rebounds. ... Heat forward Shane Battier left the game in the third quarter with a sprained right knee. He did not return. ... Point guard Kyrie Irving, who has replaced James as the face of the Cavs, sat out his third game due to a fractured left index finger. The Cavs split their first two games without Irving, who is due back in about three weeks. Before the Heat game, he shot jumpers with a heavily bandaged left hand. ... The Heat entered Saturday leading the NBA in scoring (104.3), field-goal percentage (.492) and 3-point percentage (.429). The Heat was only 22nd in points allowed (99.7), however. ... The Cavs' next game is another road test against another league heavyweight -- Monday at Memphis. ... The Heat are off until Thursday, when they play host to San Antonio.
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