LeBron James finally returned to Miami where he helped the Heat win two NBA championships. Chris Bosh was not on the floor to greet his former teammate but Dwyane Wade was there.
LeBron was introduced first during player introductions and he was met with applauds and it was well deserved. LeBron greeted his former teammates with a big smile and then the game was on.
The Miami Heat played a video tribute during the first TV timeout and the crowd gave LeBron a standing ovation. He waved to the crowd and went back to playing the game.
This was the Cavaliers first game since starting center Anderson Varejao went down with a season ending injury.
Dwyane Wade looked great in the first quarter scoring 12 points on 6-9 shooting, none better than his putback dunk over Kevin Love. Loul Deng was also good for the Heat adding nine points, four rebounds and three assists in the first quarter.
On the other side LeBron was trying to feel his way through the game. He had two early turnovers but settled down to score six points and dish out four assists. Without any real rim protectors LeBron attacked and got to the line seven times. Kyrie Irving scored the first eight points for the Cavaliers.
The Heat had nine assists in the quarter and shot over 60%. The Cavs did a good job of getting to the line and also shot over 60%. The Heat led 30-27 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter Miami went on a 10-1 run to extend their lead to 12 points. With Wade and Deng on the bench Shawne Williams, Norris Cole and Danny Granger made plays to keep the lead. Their defense was also impressive holding the Cavaliers to only three points in the first four minutes of the quarter.
The Cavaliers didn’t play with a sense of urgency. They failed to secure defensive rebounds and allowed the Heat to do whatever they wanted. LeBron made some plays but their defense was poor and the Heat scored 32 points in the quarter.
Dwyane Wade continued his hot shooting in the second. He went into the half with 24 points on 10-16 shooting including 2-3 from downtown. The Heat did a good job moving the ball and had 17 assists in the half and only four turnovers.
Cleveland played a lot of one on one and only had seven assists and 10 turnovers. The ball failed to move from side to side and the Cavs struggled to knock down three pointers. The Cavs dominated at the free throw line going 14-21 but were only 3-13 from downtown.
The Heat shot 6-8 from the line and 6-12 from beyond the arc and went into halftime with a 62-49 lead. Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 17 points and LeBron had 15 points and six assists.
The Cavs had better energy in the third quarter going on a 12-4 to cut the lead to five points. They did a better job of moving the ball and playing at a faster pace. They got five assists in the quarter and only committed one turnover.
Miami was sloppy with the ball, committing three turnovers after only having four in the entire first half. Wade only shot 1-7 in the quarter as the Heat only scored 15 points in the quarter.
LeBron James left the game at the 4:07 mark in the third quarter and the Cavs went on a 9-2 to run to cut the lead to two. LeBron came back to sit on the bench as the Cavs went into the fourth quarter down 77-74.
The Cavaliers briefly took the lead on a LeBron James dunk but he was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim. It was a back and forth game as Wade continued to struggle with his shot.
The defense on both sides was more intense. There was a sequence when Chris Andersen blocked a Tristan Thompson dunk and then on the other end Dion Waiters hustled back to block a Mario Chalmers layup. Norris Cole eventually got the ball to Loul Deng for a dunk.
After the Cavs tied the game at 80 the Heat went on a 10-1 run. The Cavaliers answered with a 6-0 run of their own. The run was not enough as the Heat held on to win 101-91.
LeBron James had a decent game scoring 30 points but he struggled from the free throw line missing eight free throws. Kyrie Irving added 24 on 10-19 shooting. Kevin Love looked disengaged most of the second half and only scored 14 points.
Dwyane Wade led the way with 31 points, five rebounds and five assists. The Heat got a great game out of Loul Deng who made LeBron earn everything but also scored 25 points while dishing out a season high eight assists.
The Cavaliers stay in Florida and take on the Orlando Magic on Friday.
The Heat play another home game against the Grizzlies on Saturday.