CLEVELAND – As shot after shot dropped through the net, it became clear LeBron James was going to have one of those special nights.
The kind he has every so often.
The kind he has when Dwyane Wade sits.
James scored 43 points — 25 in a bewildering first-quarter shooting display — and Chris Bosh added 21, leading the Miami Heat to a 100-96 win Tuesday night over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who played their first game without injured All-Star guard Kyrie Irving.
With Wade out resting his sore knees, James took it upon himself to carry the Heat. The same thing happened on March 3 and James responded by scoring a career-high 61 against Charlotte.
“I don’t know, it’s one of those zones,” James said, trying to explain how he made 10 of 11 shots and five 3-pointers in the dizzying opening quarter. “When I started the game off, I felt like I could have gone for 50 or 60.”
James added two crucial blocks and dropped six free throws in the final two minutes, and Bosh had a key rejection to lead the Heat to just their third win in eight games.
With Wade out, the Heat’s two other megastars picked up the slack.
Jarrett Jack scored 22 and Dion Waiters added 17 and 11 assists for Cleveland, which was also without starting forward Luol Deng (sprained ankle).
“Our guys hung in there and they competed,” Cavs coach Mike Brown said.
After one quarter, it was: James 25, Cavs 25.
And like the other 20,000 plus in attendance, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra marveled at James’ accuracy.
“That had nothing to do with me,” Spoelstra said. “Truth be told, it’s not like I’m absolutely in love with those type of plays, but he had it rolling. So I took a step back for a little bit.”
Hawks 118, Raptors 113 (OT)
In Atlanta, Jeff Teague equaled his career best with 34 points, Paul Millsap had the first triple-double of his career and the Hawks extended their longest winning streak of the season to five in a row, beating the Raptors.
Kings 117, Wizards 111 (OT)
In Sacramento, Isaiah Thomas had his first career triple-double with 24 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to help the Kings beat Washington.
Blazers 120, Bucks 115 (OT)
In Portland, Wesley Matthews had 26 points, including a key 3-pointer in overtime, and the Trail Blazers overcame tenacious Milwaukee.
Warriors 103, Magic 89
In Oakland, Stephen Curry had 23 points and five assists, Klay Thompson scored 20 points and undermanned Golden State overwhelmed Orlando.