for this game

Wade, Chalmers upstage LeBron as Heat down Cavs

Dec 31, 2008 - 4:51 AM By Christopher Stock PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MIAMI (Ticker) -- Dwyane Wade and LeBron James each lived up to their superstar billing. Fortunately for the Miami Heat, they also had rookie Mario Chalmers.

Wade had 21 points and 12 assists, setting up Chalmers on many of his seven 3-pointers as the Heat surged past James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, 104-95, on Tuesday.

Shawn Marion collected 14 points and 11 rebounds and Udonis Haslem added 13 and 10 for Miami, which used a crucial 16-3 fourth-quarter run to seal the win.

"They can be beat," Marion said. "I thought we should have won that game on Sunday. They are a good team but, at the same time, we are good too."

Playing on his 24th birthday, James scored 24 of his 38 points in the second half for the Cavaliers, who had their six-game winning streak snapped.

"It's sad, I'm going to cry," James joked. "Being that it was birthday, you definitely want to win, but it doesn't matter if it's my birthday or not my birthday. I want to win every game."

"We wasn't into nice birthday presents this time around for LeBron," Wade said. "He got one the other night in Cleveland. They can enjoy Miami if they stay overnight, but they can't take a win with them."

Delonte West added 20 points for Cleveland, which trailed by 16 at halftime before eventually cutting its deficit to one in the fourth.

"If we would have taken the lead, we would have gotten over the hump," James said.

But the Heat then went on their decisive run, capped by Daequan Cook's 3-pointer to make it 94-80 with 4:52 left.

"A lot of people don't know how good of basketball player he is because he only spent one year at Ohio State, but some guys are born for the NBA," James said. "I think Daequan Cook was a guy that was ready for the NBA more than college."

Over four minutes later, Chalmers hit a 3-pointer in the left corner with 1:28 left to forge an insurmountable 101-89 lead. Chalmers and Cook combined to hit 11-of-14 from behind the 3-point line.

"You look at Daequan and Mario, they were 11-of-14 from the 3-point line, which is unbelievable shooting," James said. "They did a great job of playing off of D-Wade. When you have the two guards shooting the ball like that, it's going to be hard coming back in the game."

Miami went on a 19-4 run in the first quarter to take a 24-13 lead following a layup by Wade.

The Heat stretched their lead to 16 points in the final minute of the first half after Cook brought the crowd to its feet with a 3-pointer.

"Sometimes it drives me nuts," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "(Michael Beasley, Cook and Chalmers) are totally fearless.

"At times, overconfident. But there's never any fear where they are shying away from the situation. They have a lot of guys. They love these types of situations."

Miami led 50-34 at halftime by holding Cleveland to its lowest total in a half this season. The Cavaliers shot just 31 percent (10-of-32) in the opening half.

"In the first half, they came out and were very aggressive," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "They got us on our heels quite a bit. Their pressure didn't allow us to do anything offensively."

Cleveland pulled within 67-57 following a one-handed powerful dunk in the lane by James, but Cook drilled another three to halt the momentum. James scored 14 in the quarter as the Cavs trailed, 74-67, going into the fourth.

"We are a confident team," Wade said. "LeBron is great and his greatness is going to come out. We prepared for it, took the punch and came back and won."

There were a number of notable faces in the crowd for this matchup of NBA superstars, including Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino, Olympic medalist Dara Torres, Miami Dolphins Pro Bowlers Ronnie Brown and Joey Porter, and Cleveland Browns quarterback Brady Quinn.

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