MIAMI – LeBron James and the Miami Heat benefited from their three-day break, beginning a five-game homestand with a hard-fought win over a pesky opponent.
James scored 25 points against his former team, leading the energized Heat to a 114-107 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night.
Dwyane Wade added 24 points and Chris Bosh had 22 for the Heat, idle since a 90-84 loss Tuesday at Indiana. They squandered a 19-point third-quarter lead in this one and rallied from a two-point deficit with eight unanswered points late in the fourth quarter.
“We were flying around throughout the whole game,” James said. “Even though they made their run and slowed us down in the third quarter, you could tell how we were able to finish the game in the fourth quarter.”
Ray Allen’s two free throws with 2:16 remaining capped the run and put the Heat ahead 106-100. Mario Chalmers’ corner 3-pointer with 1:36 left increased the lead to 109-101.
“We’re a team that has the ability to take it up a notch,” Wade said. “It helps because we were at home. It was between winning and losing, and we wanted to win.”
Bosh had a season-high 12 rebounds and James was one rebound and assist short of a triple-double.
“I wanted to be more consistent with my rebounding and be in the right spot at the right time,” Bosh said.
Kyrie Irving scored 19 points, and Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters each had 16 for the Cavaliers, who played the second half without coach Mike Brown. He was ejected late in the second quarter after he stormed onto the court looking for a foul on Shane Battier’s block of Thompson’s layup. Referee Sean Wright gave Brown two technicals, resulting in an ejection with 3:14 remaining in the period.
“When you come into their building, you know you are probably not going to get too many calls,” Brown said. “I thought Tristan got hit when he went up to dunk the ball. He is 6-10 and he got bent backward like that. He doesn’t bend backward because he missed a dunk.
“I thought he got hit. I lost it there.”
The Cavaliers used Brown’s ejection as a rallying cry in the second half.
“We lost our leader with Coach Brown going out,” Irving said. “We pulled it together. We all believe in one another and that if we continue to fight and get stops we could tie it up and we did.”
Clippers 113, Wizards 97
In Washington, Chris Paul had 38 points and 12 assists as Los Angeles shared the ball impeccably.
The Clippers shot 56 percent to finish 4-3 on a road trip that included six Eastern Conference teams, leaving them 6-6 on the season against the pedestrian East and 10-3 against the mighty West.
Lakers 88, Bobcats 85
In Charlotte, Kobe Bryant scored a season-high 21 points as Los Angeles defeated Charlotte for its first win since Bryant returned from a torn Achilles tendon four games ago.
Bryant was 8 of 15 from the field and hit two free throws with 37 seconds left to put the Lakers ahead for good after they trailed most of the game. Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill had 15 points apiece for Los Angeles. Nick Young scored 13 off the bench.
Spurs 100, Jazz 84
In Salt Lake City, Tim Duncan had 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead San Antonio to its fourth straight victory.
Tony Parker scored 15 points and Kawhi Leonard added 13 to help the Spurs coast comfortably past the Jazz after a big first-half run.
Knicks 111, Hawks 106
In New York, Carmelo Anthony scored 35 points, Andrea Bargnani added 23 and the Knicks pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat Atlanta.
Pablo Prigioni had a season-high 11 points and was a spark in the decisive 11-0 run midway through the final period as the Knicks finished strong one night after a fourth-quarter flop cost them in Boston.
Mavericks 106, Bucks 93
In Dallas, Brandan Wright scored 19 points in his season debut and Jose Calderon had 18 as the Mavericks shrugged off the absence of Dirk Nowitzki and coach Rick Carlisle.
Raptors 99, Bulls 77
In Chicago, Kyle Lowry scored 16 points and Jonas Valanciunas added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
DeMar DeRozan scored 15 and Amir Johnson added 14 points and eight rebounds to help the Raptors earn their second win in two nights after dropping six of seven. They led by 16 early in the third and pulled away in the fourth after the gap dwindled to four.