Heat overcome Cavs in OT
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) – Jason Kapono’s three-pointer late in
overtime gave Miami a lead it never relinquished as the Heat edged Cleveland,
94-90, and clinched a playoff berth at Quicken Loans Arena.
Antoine Walker scored 20 points and was 6-of-8 from three-point range for the
defending world champions, who remain the four seed in the Eastern
Conference playoff race and moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the idle Washington
Wizards in the Southeast Division.
Shaquille O’Neal also scored 20 points and pulled down eight rebounds, while
Udonis Haslem had 15 points.
LeBron James had a game-high 35 points and nine rebounds for the Cavaliers,
who fell 3 1/2 games behind Detroit in the Central Division. Cleveland also
surrendered the No. 2 seed to idle Chicago. Although the teams are tied with
identical 45-31 records, the Bulls hold the tiebreaker.
Larry Hughes, Aleksandar Pavlovic and Drew Gooden all added 14 points for
Gooden’s put-back, with 2:25 left in the extra frame, gave the Cavs their
first lead since the second quarter, 87-85.
Kapono answered, however, with his big three. The sharpshooter buried the
triple from the right wing to put Miami back on top, 88-87, with 1:23 left.
After Alonzo Mourning erased Pavlovic’s layup attempt, Haslem connected on a
pair of free throws at the other end to give Miami a 90-87 advantage with 37.2
Jason Williams then came up with a big steal and hit 1-of-2 from the line to
seemingly seal things.
James did manage another three but Miami knocked down three free throws in the
waning seconds to seal things.
The Heat entered the fourth quarter with a comfortable 13-point cushion but
the whistles started to go Cleveland’s way early in the frame and the Cavs
quickly got back into it. Donyell Marshall’s three from the left corner capped
a 7-0 burst that made it a 75-70 game with 5:54 left in regulation.
Walker finally stemmed the tide by drilling his sixth three of the night on
the ensuing possession and Kapono then stuck another three, with 3:49
remaining, to make it 83-72.
Less than 20 seconds later, the three-point parade continued when James
knocked down another to give the Cavs some hope, 83-75.
A pair of free throws by James, with 2:03 on the clock, then made it a two-
possession game, 83-77.
Miami couldn’t buy a bucket the rest of the way and Cleveland continued to
climb back in it at the line. The Cavs went to the charity stripe on three
straight possessions and made every freebie, the last two by James deadlocked
things at 83 with 42.4 ticks left.
After James Posey missed a running left-handed layup, the Cavs had a chance to
win things with 10.9 seconds left. But, inexplicably, James didn’t drive to
the basket and settled for a desperation three at the buzzer that came up
Miami was 11-of-26 from long range and Cleveland managed just 4-of-16…Miami
is now 16-22 on the road this season…The Cavaliers fell to 27-11 at home.