Thursday , Feb , 02 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Miami crushes Cleveland as Cavs’ win streak comes to an end

Miami, FL (Sports Network) – Dwyane Wade recorded 24 points and fellow All-
Star starter Shaquille O’Neal had 21 as Miami stopped Cleveland’s seven-game
win streak with an impressive 101-73 victory at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Wade and O’Neal, both of whom were announced Thursday as two of the Eastern
Conference’s starting five for this year’s midseason extravaganza, combined to
go 21-of-35 from the field. The pair also helped fuel a 22-0 run that bridged
and first and second quarters and sent the Heat to their fourth straight win.

James Posey finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds to aid in the triumph.

“This is one of the best games we have played thus far this year, especially
against a team that has played exceptionally well as of late,” said Wade. “We
would love to see more of this and I think we are getting there.”

LeBron James, also named to the East’s starting squad Thursday, registered 29
points and seven assists. However, the sensational guard was the lone Cavalier
player in double figures. Cleveland shot just 33.7 percent for the game and
made only 9-of-19 foul shots.

“We shot the ball terribly to start the game and they made shots,” said James.
“We tried to get back into the game but once you dig yourself a hole against a
good team like this, it is impossible to come back from.”

Miami held a double-digit lead late in the opening quarter before a Damon
Jones three-pointer followed by James’ layup off a Heat turnover cut the
Cavaliers’ deficit to 21-15.

Wade then converted a three-point play with 1:21 left in the first quarter to
ignite Miami’s huge flurry. An Alonzo Mourning dunk and a Posey three-pointer
to begin the second extended the Heat’s advantage to 29-15.

Miami didn’t stop there as Cleveland continued to miss shots. When O’Neal put
back his own attempt with 6:37 remaining before intermission, the hosts had a
commanding 43-15 lead.

The Cavs finally ended their nearly eight-minute drought when James hit two
foul shots midway through the second quarter. Cleveland missed 13 straight
field-goal attempts and a pair of free throws during the game’s fateful run.

Miami was up by as much as 27 points before intermission, but Cleveland
managed to close out the half with a 10-2 run to draw within 52-33. James had
seven of those points.

“Last time we were up there (in Cleveland), they jumped on us pretty fast,”
said O’Neal. “We just wanted to return the favor and we did that. We got out
to a big lead.”

The Cavaliers put together a strong third quarter and closed the gap to
nine, 71-62, after an Anderson Varejao layup with 1:31 to go in the frame.

However, Cleveland’s offensive woes returned in the final session, as the Cavs
mustered just nine points over the last 12 minutes.

Up 78-68 with 9 1/2 minutes left, Miami put the contest out of reach with 13
straight points. Antoine Walker’s three-pointer started what turned out to be
a 21-1 run for the Heat, with O’Neal contributing eight points to the burst.

The Heat took its largest lead of the night when Wayne Simien’s putback with
2:27 left made the score 99-69.

Game Notes

Miami’s Jason Williams returned to action after missing the last four games
after cutting his ring finger in a weightlifting accident. He contributed four
points and eight assists off the bench…The 22-0 run was the largest in
AmericanAirlines Arena history, besting a 21-0 spurt by Milwaukee against
Miami on November 28, 2000…Cleveland’s Zydrunas Ilgauskas dislocated his
right middle finger in the first half but did return…O’Neal was named an
All-Star starter for the 13th consecutive year.

CLE MIA