"The other team is going to be hungry when you haven't won a
game," James said. "It felt like us when we were 0-5. We knew
they were going to come with it. We just had to match their
They didn't. Eddie Jones scored 25 points and Lamar Odom added
14 points and 10 assists, helping Miami become the final NBA team
to break into the victory column with an 88-83 win over the
The Heat lost their first seven games, the franchise's worst
start since going 0-17 to open its inaugural season, 1988-89. It
was also the first win for Heat coach Stan Van Gundy, whose players
marked the occasion by presenting him with the game ball in the
"We're happy with the win and getting rid of some
frustrations," said Jones, who has scored 20 or more points in six
straight games. "We stayed the course for the entire 48 minutes."
James had 18 points on 6-of-15 shooting for Cleveland, which
lost its 26th straight road game since February and failed in its
bid for the franchise's first three-game winning streak since April
2002. Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 20 points for the Cavaliers (2-6)
and Carlos Boozer had a game-high 16 rebounds.
Cleveland had plenty of chances down the stretch, as Miami
scored only two points in the final 4:26.
"We got a lot of stops," James said. "That shows we're
improving. We just didn't convert."
James was stifled on three key possessions, first committing an
offensive foul while driving with 2:08 left, then getting a shot
blocked by Udonis Haslem with 1:25 remaining. James also failed to
handle a quick pass from Ilgauskas with 18.5 seconds left,
committing Cleveland's eighth turnover of the final quarter.
"Our worst fears were realized," Cleveland coach Paul Silas
said. "You're coming in with a team that has not won at all and
they were going to fight and scratch and do whatever it took to
win. We were just a step slow all night long."
Cleveland further hurt itself by making only 17 of 30 free
Dwyane Wade added 14 points and Rafer Alston had 10 for Miami,
which shot only 34.7 percent in Tuesday's loss at Houston. The Heat
shot 45.5 percent -- their second best effort of the season --
Miami held Cleveland to one field goal in the final 6:52 of the
third quarter, turning a 61-60 deficit into a 72-65 lead entering
the final period.
Wade made two big plays to fuel the quarter-ending burst. He
rose well above the rim to block James' layup attempt with 5:15
left in the third, sparking a fast-break basket by Haslem for a
With 1:09 left in the quarter, Wade rebounded his own missed
baseline jumper and put down a two-handed dunk to give Miami a
72-64 lead -- its biggest of the game at that point.
In the fourth, any chance Cleveland had to rally was taken away
by turnovers. James was wide open from 18 feet with 4:35 remaining,
but never got the chance to shoot after the Cavaliers were whistled
for a three-second violation. On Miami's next trip, Jones made a
3-pointer from the right wing for an 86-77 lead.
But Miami made things interesting down the stretch, missing its
last five shots and making two turnovers in the final 3:38.
"We were fumbling the thing all over the place," Van Gundy
said. "A lot of it had to do with the tightness. We have to play
those situations better. It's a learning experience."
Miami scored 27 first-quarter points, a season-high for its
eight opening periods this season. ... Baseball Hall of Fame
pitcher Jim Palmer was in the crowd. ... James spent the final
moments of halftime reviewing stat sheets at the scorer's table.
... The game was delayed for nine minutes after shot clocks
malfunctioned twice late in the third quarter.