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Do-it-all James leads Heat over Cavs

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- Whatever it takes.

Unlike some other great players who are primarily scorers or passers or rebounders, Miami Heat forward LeBron James has built his spectacular career on his rare ability to do a lot of everything.

Those skills were in evidence Saturday night as his near triple-double was the key to the Heat defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 114-107 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

James had a game-high 25 points to go with nine rebounds and a game-high nine assists. He helped the Heat build a 19-point third-quarter lead, and when the Cavs rallied to take a 95-91 lead with 7:24 left in the fourth quarter, James was there again to lead an 11-1 run in the final three minutes.

"I just try to see the floor, every part of the floor," said James, who also had four steals, which tied a game high, and made 9 of 12 shots from the field. "If my shooters are open, I try to find them. If I have a lane, I attack, and I was able to do a little bit of both."

Thanks to James, the Heat -- who made 70 percent of their shots from the field in the first quarter and 55 percent for the game -- overcame hot-tempered Cavs coach Mike Brown, who was ejected with 3:34 left in the second quarter.

Brown was upset when Cavs forward Tristan Thompson was blocked by Heat forward Shane Battier.

"I thought Tristan got hit when he went up to dunk the ball," Brown said. "(Thompson) is 6-10, and he got bent backward like that. He doesn't bend backward because he missed a dunk. I thought he got hit, and I lost it there.

"(The Heat) are the reigning NBA champs. When you come into their building, you know you are probably not going to get too many calls."

Cavs guard Jarrett Jack, who scored 14 points and was one of six Cleveland players in double figures, said he appreciated Brown's actions.

"(Brown) is fighting with us," Jack said. "The emotion he put forth always does something for you. Seeing him going hard for us -- and he is not even in uniform -- it just shows the pride and character he has."

In addition to James, Miami guard Dwyane Wade had 24 points and Heat forward Chris Bosh added 22 points and 11 rebounds.

"It was probably (Bosh's) best game of the season with his activity and rebounding," Wade said. "He looked very good."

Bosh said he is just trying to be more consistent.

"I just want to be in the right place at the right time," he said.

The other double-figure scorers for the Heat were guard Ray Allen, who had four of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, and guard Mario Chalmers, who hit two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and finished with 11 points.

Point guard Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 19 points, but he was not all that efficient. He made just 6 of 16 shots from the field and neutralized his three assists with three turnovers. In addition, he scored just two points in the fourth quarter, making 1 of 4 shots from the field.

Brown praised the all-around play of forward Alonzo Gee (10 points). Guard Dion Waiters, who had nine of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, was perhaps the most efficient Cavs player. He came off the bench and made 5 of 11 shots from the floor, including 2 of 4 on 3-pointers.

Cleveland had its three-game win streak snapped. Still, after a poor 4-12 start, the Cavs have gone 5-2.

The Heat, who are just 3-3 in their past six games, had their highest scoring first quarter of the season and its highest scoring first half. The Heat led 35-29 after the first quarter.

The Heat grabbed control of the game with an 18-3 second-quarter run and took a 68-52 lead into halftime. Wade led all scorers in the first half with 20 points for his best opening-two quarters of the season.

Perhaps the odd highlight of the second quarter came when Miami's Chris "Birdman" Andersen made his first 3-pointer of the season. He entered the game just 4 of 26 from beyond the arc for his career.

The Cavaliers outscored the Heat 28-16 in the third quarter and briefly led in the fourth.

Unfortunately for the Cavs, James had plenty left in the tank for the fourth quarter, when he had seven points and three assists.

"What I like is his efficiency -- only two mistakes, two turnovers," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of James. "He makes a lot of positive plays for us without helping the other team."

NOTES: Heat F Michael Beasley (hamstring injury) missed his fourth straight game. ... Houston Rockets C Omar Asik is expected to be traded within the next week, but the Cavaliers have denied interest in a deal that would send away F Anderson Varejao. ... Cavaliers C Tyler Zeller, who is averaging 7.3 minutes, sprained his ankle in Saturday's warm-ups and missed the game. ... Cavaliers F Anthony Bennett, the NBA's No. 1 overall pick this year, failed to score in double figures in his first 18 games, shooting just 26.6 percent from the field. ... Up next, the Cavaliers start a two-game homestand Tuesday against Portland. ... The Heat play their second of a five-game home stretch on Monday against Utah.
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