Cleveland trailed by just three points with a minute left, looking to end the Heat's winning streak at nine. But Daniel Gibson and Mo Williams each missed three-pointers in the closing seconds, and Miami escaped with a 101-95 win. Along with giving a stronger effort than they had in the Dec. 2 debacle at Quicken Loans Arena, the Cavaliers wanted to play rough with the Heat.
Gibson talked to the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Schmitt Boyer about the Cavs' mindset coming into South Beach.
"The point was to make our presence felt," Daniel Gibson said. If the countless bags of ice piled up in the Heat locker room or the lineup for the massage table was any indication, they achieved their goal. [...]
"During this stretch, teams haven't felt us as at all," said Gibson, who led the Cavs in toughness and scoring with 26 points. "They've been doing what they want to do. What we wanted to do tonight was any opportunity we got to step in front of somebody or stop somebody from scoring, whatever that meant, that's what we were going to do."
Gibson had a brush with chaos as he and Heat rolepayer Eddie House nearly fought at the end of the Dec. 2 game in Cleveland. The following day, Gibson told reporters that he nor his teammates appreciated LeBron's preening and trash talk as the Heat built up a massive lead in King James' return to Cleveland.
In Wednesday's rematch, LeBron was basically a mute on the court, restricting his typical showmanship to a minimum, either in deference to his friends still playing for the Cavs or to deflect any extra attention the game may have drawn.
The Cavs did break one streak: Cleveland is the first team in 10 games to lose by less than 10 points to the Heat. Unfortunately, the more important streak is the Cavs' nine-game losing skid. The Cavaliers next play at Indiana on Friday.