Dwyane Wade's Miami Heat Dodges a Bullet Against the Lowly Cavaliers

Matt Parker@@parkem24Contributor IIIDecember 16, 2010

Wade was difficult to handle late against Cleveland.
Wade was difficult to handle late against Cleveland.Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Heat-Cavaliers, Round 2.

Kind of an afterthought with that game being played at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night.

Not to the Cavaliers.

All they heard after the shellacking they received on Dec. 2 was that they quit, didn't compete and let LeBron James do whatever he wanted. They laid an egg. A rotten, 28-point housing of an egg.

They responded in Miami, making the Heat sweat before falling 95-101, ending the Heat's bid (at least for the moment) to become just the fourth team in NBA history to win at least 10 in a row by 10 or more points.

This was the game we thought we'd see in Cleveland: the Cavaliers giving Miami all they could handle.

Instead, the Heat rallied together amid the intense scrutiny and negative reaction during LeBron's return to Cleveland, helping the team bond and sparking its current 10-game winning streak.

Wednesday's grind-it-out victory against those same Cavaliers (actually, they looked like a completely different team) may look like just the 10th win in a row on paper.

However, it deflects a recycling of all the questions surrounding the Heat that a loss to the lowly Cavs would have resurfaced, including its prospects for a championship and the job security of head coach Eric Spoelstra.

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With 2:10 left in the first half, the Heat was the team looking up at a double-digit deficit. Cleveland was hitting shots. Miami was missing free throws. The Cavs were winning.

Miami took a modest four-point lead into the fourth quarter searching for answers.

Enter Dwyane Wade.

Except for a couple highlight dunks, Wednesday's game was evolving into one to forget for the Miami star.

But the fourth quarter is Wade's time.

Wade hit a couple jumpers before unleashing his three-point attack, hitting three three-pointers and scoring 15 points in Miami's 20-10 run to open the final quarter.

He even started talking to his hand again a la Game 4 against Boston in last season's playoffs.

Wade has been on a tear this month, averaging 27.4 points and shooting a blistering 60.3 percent from the floor including 47.1 percent from the arc.

Let's hope those hands stay hot Friday night in New York.