At game's end, only James left happy.
James hit two free throws after a scary tumble and blow to the
head with 4.1 seconds left for the winning points, and Wade missed
a jumper over the reigning MVP's outstretched arm at the buzzer as
the Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Miami
Heat 92-91 on Monday night.
"It came down to one possession," said James, who matched Wade
with a game-high 32 points. "Whoever got the last stop was going
to win the game. Luckily it was us."
Wade had 30 at halftime, then only two the rest of the way -- and
missed two big free throws with 41.2 seconds left, part of a 1 of 6
showing from the line by the Heat in the fourth quarter.
It cost Miami dearly.
"We put ourselves in the right position," Wade said. "Just
mistakes tonight that I made that I normally don't ... cost us."
As great as the back-and-forth between Wade and James was at
times, the last half-minute might be all anyone remembers from this
Guarding his good friend for the first time all night, Wade
blocked James' shot with about 28 seconds left, giving Miami the
ball and a one-point lead. But on the ensuing possession, James --
defending Wade this time -- came up with a steal when the league's
defending scoring champion tried a wraparound pass, drove in from
halfcourt and created what became a frightening scene for both
James and Wade went toward the hoop together, with
Quentin Richardson defending as well. Both James and Wade landed awkwardly,
and James writhed in pain for about 2 minutes as the entire Cavs'
bench came out to check on their fallen leader. He got up, walked
Richardson's foul off and made two free throws with 4.1 seconds
left for a 92-91 lead.
"For him to get up after that collision and knock down two free
throws the way that he did, he's got ice water in his veins,
baby," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "Ice water."
And in the ensuing huddle, Brown wanted to call a double-team on
Wade. The coach was overruled.
"I got D-Wade," James said.
Wade's shot bounced off the iron, and it was over.
"The good, the bad, you're up, you're down," Heat coach Erik
Spoelstra said. "I'll take it all with this team."
Jermaine O'Neal had 14 in the first quarter, Wade had 13 in the
period, and Miami was off and running with a 34-24 lead after the
first 12 minutes.
That was only the warmup act.
The second quarter was pure theater, Wade vs. LeBron.
So good was the show that hardly anyone noticed that Wade's
teammates missed 15 straight shots over a 15 1/2-minute stretch,
including 0 for 12 in the second quarter alone. Miami missed 12
straight before Wade made a step-back jumper with 3:37 left in the
half put Miami up 40-39, and he followed that up with a 3-pointer
while getting fouled by Jamario Moon to ignite the crowd.
James answered, a 3-pointer of his own making it a one-point
It was on.
"The competition," Spoelstra said, "was fantastic."
Wade made a jumper and couldn't contain his grin as the building
roared, knowing it was seeing a glorified game of 1-on-1 between
two of the game's elite. James cleared everyone else out against
Richardson, rebutting with a fallaway jumper of his own.
They were just getting started.
"Two really, really good friends, one of my best friends that I
have, just two great competitors not wanting to lose to each
other," James said. "But at the same time, knowing that we're
putting on a show not only for each other, but for the fans and
whoever was watching the game."
Wade missed a free throw with 29 seconds left until
intermission, ran down the rebound and gave Miami another
possession -- which he capped with a 3-pointer with 6.6 seconds
left, flashing dueling "3" signs behind his back after sealing
the fourth 30-point half of his career. Undeterred, with 1.2 ticks
remaining, James hit -- what else? -- a 3-pointer, cutting Miami's
lead to 54-50.
The teams scored 46 points total in the second quarter. James
(20) and Wade (17) combined for 37 of them.
And when it was over, the scene in the Miami locker room told
"Tough one, right?" Beasley asked Richardson, who only nodded
All four instances of Wade scoring 30 in a half have come
at home, two of them against Cleveland. ... The teams combined to
miss their first 10 shots of the second quarter. ... Creative sign
of the night: With a nod to this summer's expected free agent
bonanza, a fan held up a placard during a second-quarter time-out
with the Facebook logo, saying James had changed his status from
"in a relationship with the Cavs" to "in a relationship with the
Would David Fizdale be a good hire for the Grizzlies? Will the team keep free agent Mike Conley? Our crew forecasts the future for Memphis.
David Fizdale, an assistant with the Heat, has been offered the head-coaching job with the Grizzlies and the sides are working on a contract, according to ESPN and a Vertical report.
Check out top NBA playoff moments from the past week, including the Toronto Raptors' victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers to tie their series 2-2 and the Oklahoma City Thunder's victory to claim a 3-1 lead in their series with the Golden State Warriors.