James helped spoil an otherwise perfect week for the returning
Miami coach, scoring 41 points and taking over late to give the
Cleveland Cavaliers a 115-107 victory over Riley and the Heat on
Riley, coaching against James for the first time, was impressed.
"A guy like that gets it going, what are you going to do?"
Riley said. "I've seen too many players like him. At times, you're
Donyell Marshall put up season highs of 25 points and 13
rebounds and Larry Hughes scored 20 points, but it was James' 13
straight points in the fourth quarter that held off the Heat's
Miami had won four straight, including three with Riley after
Stan Van Gundy resigned Monday. Cleveland has won two straight
after dropping seven of nine.
"This is a very big win because it's against an Eastern
Conference powerhouse," James said. "We caught them on the end of
a back to back, but they can win a game at any time."
The Heat looked sluggish early, playing their fourth road game
in five nights.
"We would have liked to come away 4-0, but they had more energy
than we did and they hit a lot of shots," O'Neal said.
O'Neal got into foul trouble and the Cavaliers led by 22 late in
the third quarter.
But Miami, playing with its reserves on the floor, went on a
14-0 run to pull to 95-87 with 8:09 left on strong inside play from
Alonzo Mourning and Antoine Walker.
"They're a great team and they hadn't made a run all night. We
knew they would," James said. "It was time for me to wake up."
James took control, scoring Cleveland's next 13 points -- a layup
high off the glass, three jumpers, a pair of free throws and a
3-pointer -- as the Cavs made it 108-98 with 3:26 to go.
"Once I start feeling like that, I feel unstoppable," James
Riley didn't have an answer for James, who was born two years
after the coach won his first NBA title in his first season with
the Los Angeles Lakers in 1982.
"He's like a freight train with Dwyane Wade's speed," Riley
Wade's layup made it 111-107 with 43.7 seconds left. But he
missed a 3-pointer with 8 seconds remaining and the Cavaliers made
enough free throws to hold off Miami.
Wade praised Miami's bench for getting them back in it, but
acknowledged the Heat overall didn't have enough intensity on
James added 10 assists, five rebounds and was 12-of-13 from the
"The whole game he was terrific," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown
said. "Toward the end, he put us on his back like many times
before and he carried us. And he even carried me, if I called a
play he executed it."
Marshall scored 14 points in the third quarter, capped by a
3-pointer with under a minute left for Cleveland's biggest lead,
Mourning scored 14 points and Walker 10 points and seven
The Cavs' Drew Gooden sprained his left ankle when he came down
on O'Neal's foot late in the first half. He had to be helped off
the floor and did not return.
After the game, Gooden said he reaggravated an old injury, but
did not expect to miss significant time.
Cleveland's Zydrunas Ilgauskas lay sprawled on the floor his
hands over his head with 55.7 seconds left after colliding with
Wade's shoulder on a loose ball for his sixth foul. A few minutes
later Ilgauskas walked off the court with a large knot over his
Hughes scored 19 of his 20 points in the first half. He made
back to back 3-pointers, then stole a pass and ran the length of
the court to give Cleveland a 56-38 lead with 1:34 left.
The Cavaliers had lost three straight to the Heat. ...
Miami has scored 100 points or more in five straight games. ...
O'Neal had not lost to the Cavaliers in 10 meetings dating to March
18, 1999, when he had 37 points and 19 rebounds in a 100-93 loss
with the Lakers. ... Heat G Jason Williams missed his sixth
straight game with right knee tendinitis. ... Cavaliers G Ira
Newble was active for the first time this season after missing 21
games with right foot plantar fasciitis. He did not play. ... Riley
said his first week back on the sideline has been a whirlwind: "I
don't know what I'm doing," he said. "I'm just trying to get
through the week. Next week, I'll put some plays in and start
screwing them up."