The Cavs had one last chance to tie it, but C.J. Miles was long with a 3-pointer in the final second, letting Miami off the hook and sending the Heat home with a chance to extend their streak to 25 on Friday against Detroit.
Following the game, James stopped to sign a few autographs as he made his way to Miami’s locker room. This was much tougher than he and the Heat could have imagined. The win also completed a five-game road trip, dubbed “The Reunion Tour” by James because Miami visited Wade’s home in Milwaukee, Chris Bosh’s former team in Toronto and Ray Allen’s in Boston.
“The streak wasn’t on my mind, but us getting blown out was,” James said. “I was going to be the only guy to take an ‘L’ on the reunion tour.”
Mario Chalmers added 17 points and Wade had 11 for the Heat, who outscored the Cavs 30-18 in the fourth quarter and 64-40 in the second half.
Wayne Ellington had 20 points and Tristan Thompson 18 for Cleveland, which went from a stunning upset to blowing the biggest lead in a loss in franchise history.
“We knew it was coming,” Thompson said of the Heat’s comeback. “They were the NBA champions last season. They’re not going to lay down. Champions don’t lay down even when they’re down by 27. We knew they were going to make a push. Guys went out and made plays, so you have to give them credit.”
It was a painful blow to the young Cavs and owner Dan Gilbert, who had a courtside seat to watch James do his thing. When James left Cleveland as a free agent, Gilbert harshly criticized James in a letter written to Cavs fans. Gilbert promised Cleveland would win a title before James, and has said he regrets making the claim.
Last year, James said it would be “great” to play in Cleveland again, but that he had yet to work out his differences with Gilbert. While James has moved on, it has taken longer for some Cleveland fans, who can’t forgive him for abandoning his home without winning a championship.
Before Wednesday’s game, Gilbert went on his Twitter account and posted a message to say he’s no longer looking back.
“Cleveland Cavaliers young talent makes our future very bright,” Gilbert wrote. “Clearly, LeBron’s is as well. Time for everyone to focus on the road ahead.”
This game had a little of everything with a carbon dioxide container dripping onto the court and pushing the opening tip back 35 minutes, and a young fan running onto the floor in the fourth quarter wearing a T-shirt that said: “We Miss You, 2014 Come Back,” a reference to James’ possible free agency and return to Cleveland.
James went out of his way and patted the fan on the head as security rushed him off the floor.
“He said he missed me and come back, please,” James said. “I wasn’t worried. There are metal detectors here, so we were OK. I embraced it.”
NOTES: Starting with the Cavs, Miami’s next 10 games are against opponents with a combined winning percentage of just .399. … The Heat play the Pistons and Charlotte at home before going to Orlando, Chicago, New Orleans and San Antonio. … It was the first time Miami overcame a 21-point halftime deficit to win. … The Cavs will wait a week before they evaluate Waiters, who has loose cartilage, and decide whether he needs surgery. Cleveland coach Byron Scott hopes his young guard comes back in the final month. “If he gets back, I’ll be thrilled to death,” Scott said. … Miami’s three wins over Cleveland this season have been by a total of nine points.