MIAMI (AP) — Dwyane Wade got a hug from his close friend LeBron James before the game, a milestone in the third quarter, a rest for the entire fourth quarter and an easy win to enjoy when it was over.
That’s a night to savor.
Wade scored 24 points and became the 41st player in NBA history to reach 20,000, rookie Josh Richardson added 19 and the Miami Heat led wire-to-wire on their way to beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 122-101 on Saturday.
Goran Dragic had 18 points and 11 assists for Miami, Joe Johnson also scored 18 and Hassan Whiteside finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Miami led outrebounded Cleveland 42-26 and led by a season-high 33 at one point.
Cleveland had one real burst during the game, an 11-0 run in the second quarter that cut a 15-point Heat lead down to 40-36. Other than that, it was all Miami.
Richardson continued his brilliant play of late, the rookie making all three of his 3-point tries in the second quarter to help Miami take control for good. Wade went into the locker room at halftime with 19,997 career points, and the only drama at that point was when he would get the milestone basket.
The answer came quickly.
Wade, who came into the game 13 shy of the milestone, scored a minute into the third to get to 19,999, then got a short floater in the lane to drop moments later. He got a standing ovation at the next dead ball, and a video tribute later in the quarter.
The Cavs were befuddled all night. About 90 minutes before the game, Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said center Timofey Mozgov would be in the Cavs’ starting lineup. Sometime in the next 45 minutes Lue apparently changed his mind, starting Kevin Love at center instead and not playing Mozgov at all until benches were cleared early in the fourth quarter.
Love was on the bench with two fouls before the game was 3 1/2 minutes old, the Cavaliers surrounded James with four guards during one stretch of the half and nothing really worked. Miami’s lead was 31-19 after a quarter, 65-44 at the half, and Love finished with just seven points in 16 minutes.
Cavaliers: In Cleveland’s two trips to Miami this season, the Cavaliers have led for a total of 21 seconds. … Cleveland has not won in Miami since Jan. 25, 2010, going 0-11 since – with James being a member of the Heat for seven of those games. … Including playoff games, it was the sixth time in James’ career when he took 20 or more field-goal attempts and didn’t get a single trip to the free throw line.
Heat: Dragic, who rarely dunks – and rarely is putting it mildly – had a chance early in the fourth quarter and appeared to lose the ball on the way up. He made the shot anyway, laughing about it as he headed back on defense. … Miami has scored at least 100 points in 10 consecutive games, its longest such streak since 1994. … Johnson is 23 for 39 from 3-point range since joining the Heat. … Chris Bosh and James had a brief on-court talk after the game, and James then huddled with Wade as about a dozen photographers surrounded them.
RARE TYPE OF LOSS
Saturday marked only the third time in 69 games this season in which Cleveland never had the lead. The only other games were Dec. 1 against Washington and Jan. 18 against Golden State, when the Warriors went into Cleveland and embarrassed the Cavaliers in a one-sided rematch of last season’s NBA Finals.
HEAT SINCE LEBRON
Miami is now 4-0 at home against Cleveland since James ended his four-season stint with the Heat and returned to the Cavaliers in the summer of 2014. Each of the wins has been by double-digits.