Justise Winslow led a balanced offense for host Miami and the Heat’s defense wore down the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers 118-94 Friday night.
Winslow finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. He has had only eight 20-point games in his career, six of them in December.
Bam Adebayo added 18 points on 8-for-8 shooting, with nine boards and five assists. Seven Heat players reached double figures in scoring.
The key point in the game came when Hassan Whiteside picked up his fourth foul less than three minutes into the third quarter and Miami leading by six points. Heat coach Eric Spoelstra gambled and left his big man in the game, switching to a 2-3 zone.
The move paid off as the Heat opened up a 12-point lead.
Rodney McGruder connected on a 3-pointer from 27 feet, then Whiteside excited the crowd with an alley-oop dunk off an assist from Winslow. A later free throw by Whiteside put the Heat up 68-56.
Cleveland’s Cedi Osman kept the Cavaliers in the game by scoring eight straight points, but Miami’s Dwyane Wade hit a layup and tip-in to put Miami back up by 11.
Because of injuries, Cleveland had only nine players available. Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points. Alec Burks added 17 points.
The Heat connected on 58 percent of their field-goal attempts in the first quarter and led 30-29 lead heading into the second quarter. They made 4 of 7 from 3-point range and got eight points from Channing Frye, who was making his fourth start of the season.
Rodney McGruder led the Heat with eight first-quarter points.
The Heat won their 15th straight against the Cavaliers in Miami. The last time the Cavaliers beat the Heat in Miami was Jan. 25, 2010.
Miami has won six of seven. Cleveland has lost five straight and failed to score 100 points in four of those games.
—Field Level Media