April 24, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
53°F

Cavs: James’ mastery of Cleveland remains strong

CLEVELAND — Ho-hum, LeBron wins another one.

It lacked the crowd involvement of previous meetings and was totally devoid of drama, but LeBron James still came out on the winning end, his Miami Heat team defeating the Cavaliers 95-84 Wednesday at sold-out Quicken Loans Arena.

James, who is now 10-1 against the Cavs, received a smattering of boos every time he touched the ball and a smattering of applause each time he did something good while finishing with 28 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in 37 minutes.

“It’s been less and less (hostile) ever since the first time I came here,” James said. “Nothing could be worse than that.”

The Cavs (4-11), who have lost four straight and seven of their last eight, played fairly hard defensively but not very well offensively in falling to Miami for the eighth straight time.

Dion Waiters, the subject of trade rumors earlier in the day, had 24 points, six rebounds and three assists off the bench, but he didn’t get a lot of help.

Kyrie Irving had another woeful shooting night, going 6-for-19 from the field while finishing with 16 points and three assists. Cleveland’s other four starters combined for 10 points on 4-for-20 shooting, meaning James outscored the Cavs’ entire starting lineup, which went 10-for-39 from the floor, by two points.

“They’re all struggling,” James said. “It’s trickled down to (Irving). He’s an unbelievable talent, but they’re all struggling.”

Andrew Bynum was 2-for-10 from the field, Tristan Thompson was 1-for-6, Alonzo Gee was 1-for-2 and Matthew Dellavedova was 0-for-2. Those four players combined to play 68 minutes and took one less shot than Irving in 34 minutes.

“It’s part of the game,” Irving said of his struggles. “It’s the law of averages. … I guarantee once I get over the hump, there will be no looking back.”

As a team, the Cavs shot .349 from the field (29-for-83), which is why they never really had a chance in this one.

The Heat (12-3), which won its eighth straight overall, had a little something to do with that, forcing Cleveland into 19 turnovers, a number coming on attempted passes to Bynum in the post.

“When you run into a good team like the Miami Heat, it may look like you’re not getting better,” Cavs coach Mike Brown said. “But we are getting better.”

Cleveland led 28-20 late in the first quarter, but the Heat went on a 22-5 run while the Cavs went 2-for-17 from the field over the first 9 minutes of the second quarter.

Miami led by 15 in the third period and was never seriously threatened after that, though the Cavs hung around until the closing minutes.

Earl Clark finished with 13 points off the bench for Cleveland, while Anderson Varejao had 10 points and seven boards.

Dwyane Wade had 22 points for Miami, with Michael Beasley adding 17 points and nine boards off the bench.

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @RickNoland.