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Heat blitz Cavs early, then rally late

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The Miami Heat came off a four-day break to put on their most dazzling half of the season, scoring a season-high for a half with 68 points in the first 24 minutes of their first out since last Tuesday’s loss at Indiana.

But before Saturday night’s clash with the Cleveland Cavaliers was over, the Heat had muddled their way through one of their lowest-scoring quarters of the season and lost all of a 19-point lead before coming back for a 114-107 win over the Cavs.

By scoring only 16 points in the third quarter -- matching their third-lowest output in a quarter this season -- the Heat went into the final period up only 84-80 after leading 71-52 just a minute into the third quarter.

The visiting Cavs actually pulled in front by four points, 95-91, with under eight minutes to go before the Heat got things back together.

Apparently, the Heat doesn’t like to make things look too easy.

Part problem in the third-quarter was the Heat’s doing, the rest of it was on the Cavs, Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said.

“When it’s competition, you can’t just lay it on us, and you can’t just lay it on them,” he said. “The energy, the purpose of what we were doing waned a little bit, and that can change momentum in this league very quickly.

“You do have to credit the Cavs for staying with it. They got second life and turned it into a heck of a basketball game. We were able to make enough plays at both ends at the very end to come away with a win.”

Besides getting the victory, the other big positive to take out of the victory was the play of guard Dwyane Wade.

Wade has missed five games already this season to rest his aching knees, but with the gap between the road loss to the Pacers and the home game against the Cavs giving him recuperative time, Wade appeared refreshed. He scored 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting and had just one turnover in under 34 minutes.

He and LeBron James (a game-high 25 points) and Chris Bosh (22) combined for 71 of Miami’s total. It’s the second time this season each member of Miami’s Big Three has topped 20 points in a game, the other coming in a 103-93 win over the Washington Wizards on Nov. 3.

That Wade seemed to benefit from the rest does raise the issue of whether he will play Monday night when the Heat host the Utah Jazz in the second outing of a five-game homestand.

It’s not so much that he is so brittle he can’t come back so quickly, but rather Spoelstra may want to give the veteran time off to be primed for Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers.

At 17-6, the Heat remain three games behind the 20-3 Pacers in the race for the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers are home against Detroit Monday night before going to Miami.


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