Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Miami Heat: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Miami
The Cavaliers kept making little runs after Miami held a 13-point lead in the first quarter, and then an 18-point lead at halftime, but Miami would just go right off on a run of its own.
Miami ran its lead to 22 points at its peak in the third quarter, but Cleveland wasn't ready to die just yet.
A huge run, including 11 points in 40 seconds by C.J. Miles to close out the quarter, led to a one-point lead for the Cavaliers to start out the fourth quarter.
As Miami let Cleveland's bench extend the lead, LeBron came back into the game earlier than it would have hoped in order to slow down the Cavaliers' run that just never seemed to end.
The Heat settled for contested jump shots far too often, they let Cavs guards get by them and big men dribble around them. However, they ended up winning an unexpectedly close game 109-105 thanks to a big fourth quarter from Dwyane Wade.
Mario Chalmers: B-
Stat Line: 16 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 4-of-6 shooting, 4-of-5 three pointers
Mario Chalmers' first half compared to his second half was like night and day, mostly because he didn't get a ton of looks in the second half.
Chalmers knocked down three long balls in the first half, but just one in the second half as the Miami offense got out of rhythm, started to become LeBron-centric and really devolved into a lot of isolation possessions followed by bail-out passes.
He was able to knock down a few big free throws late, helping to continue a Heat run to keep the score close, and his defense was solid throughout.
It wasn't the banner game for Chalmers that it looked like it would be in the first half, but he had a solid performance.
Dwyane Wade: B
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Stat Line: 24 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 11-of-22 shooting
Dwyane Wade really had a rough first three quarters, scoring just nine points and going 4-of-12 from the field before he turned it around playing off the ball for Miami.
He scored 15 fourth-quarter points, had a huge block that led to the transition LeBron bucket to give Miami the lead and his presence both handling the ball and setting screens was terrific in the fourth.
Defensively, he had trouble staying in front of Dion Waiters, which was a bit surprising. Walters was able to have an incredibly efficient night by his standards, but Wade did share a bit of those defensive duties with Mario Chalmers.
In all, Wade had a bad game, but was saved by a tremendous fourth quarter.
LeBron James: B-
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Stat Line: 28 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists, 10-of-19 shooting
In reality, Miami needs LeBron James to do more rebounding on a consistent basis, but that's really the only beef that you can have with the game he had tonight.
Well, I suppose his game as a whole looks fine, but it was really a tale of two halves, as he was incredible in the first, missing just two shots and a free throw and scoring 18 points, while his second half wasn't pretty.
The third quarter saw him and the rest of the Heat watching lazily as Cleveland got out in transition, knocked down three-pointers and got to the rim with regularity.
In all, it wasn't just a LeBron thing, it was an everybody thing.
He got it going again a bit in the fourth, and that ended up being enough for the win, but the third quarter could have been damning for him.
Udonis Haslem: B+
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Stat Line: 7 points, 10 rebounds, 2-of-2 shooting
The Heat don't ask a lot of Udonis Haslem, and he did everything and then some in this one.
On a night when everybody wearing a Heat uniform seemed incapable of grabbing a rebound (that's what happens when both teams shoot 50 percent from the field), Haslem stepped in and did his job to a tee.
He scored when he had the ball in his hands, which wasn't often, and he pulled down twice as many rebounds as any other player on the Heat.
Udonis had a solid night boxing out and setting screens.
Chris Bosh: C-
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Stat Line: 7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 blocks, 3-of-7 shooting
I'm still waiting for Chris Bosh to show up in this one. Give him a few minutes and he'll surely come around eventually.
What's that? The game's over? And Bosh was there, you say?
He was incredibly uninvolved with the offense, and he rarely made any sort of impact on the offensive end of the floor.
Luckily, he played against a Cleveland team that has a ton of guards prone to driving into big guys' chests, so he ended up with four emphatic blocks on the defensive end, although a few of them were more of a "right place, right time" type of block.
Not a good one for Bosh, especially when it comes to rebounding.
Shane Battier: A-
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Stat Line: 14 points, 1 rebound, 2 steals, 1 block, 4-of-7 shooting, 4-of-7 three pointers
Shane Battier has taken over the sixth-man role a bit for Ray Allen as of late, and he's flourished with a few more minutes under his elastic waistband.
Battier gives the Heat the solid versatile defender that they desperately need, capable of bopping down into the post or hanging around the perimeter with just about any player that comes his way.
This is mostly because he's normally been guarding the team's second-best perimeter player, with LeBron grabbing the other.
He was fine on the defensive end, while superb on the offensive end, making four three-pointers and putting up 14 points on only seven shots.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Stat Line: 27 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 9-of-19 shooting, 7-of-12 three-pointers
Aside from Ray Allen and Shane Battier, there was little offense to be talked about, but the bench threw together a solid output thanks to a ton of three-pointers falling.
Just looking at the scoring total really doesn't seem to be enough to evaluate this bench, however, as they were a very productive group.
Battier's shooting and defense was solid, as was Allen's presence beyond the arc.
Elsewhere, Chris Andersen gave them some huge rebounds to help extend a few leads early in the game, while Norris Cole's defense on Kyrie Irving was exceedingly impressive.
It was a solid game overall. They didn't blow anybody out of the water, but they did what was expected of them.