Adebayo scores 30 points, Heat walks away to beat Cavs


Miami Heat center Dewayne Dedmon (21) drives the ball away from Cleveland Cavaliers forward Lamar Stevens (8) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 11, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)


The Miami Heat are campaigning for Bam Adebayo to be considered Defensive Player of the Year.

Their center reminded them once again that he’s pretty good at the other end of the track too.

Adebayo led the way with 30 points and 17 rebounds, and a pair of big third-quarter points helped the Heat beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 117-105 on Friday night.

“I think he played a great game-winning basketball game,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He had as much of an impact on the win as anyone on both sides of the pitch.”

Adebayo was 11 of 16 from the field, 8 of 8 on the line.

Jimmy Butler scored 24 points, Tyler Herro added 22 and Max Strus finished with 17 for the Heat, which improved to 16-7 in games after a loss. The Heat had a 13-0 run early in the third to open an eight-point lead, then had an 11-0 run later in the quarter to build what was an 84-67 lead.

“It felt like everyone was 30 tonight,” Adebayo said.

Darius Garland had 24 points and 10 assists for Cleveland, which has lost seven of its last 10 games. The Cavaliers were bidding to sweep the Heat for the first time since the 2009-10 season; instead, they’ve fallen to 1-21 in their last 22 trips to Miami, with the win coming earlier this season.

Evan Mobley had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Cavs, who got 15 points from Lauri Markkanen and 11 from Kevin Love.

Cleveland turned the ball over 18 times to Miami’s nine and was outscored 30-10 on turnovers.

“Turnover. They cost you,” Cleveland coach JB Bickerstaff said. “They do a great job of forcing them, and then they do a great job of converting after.”

The Heat (45-23) outsold inactive Milwaukee by 2 1/2 games in the Eastern Conference standings, plus three games against Philadelphia and four games ahead of Chicago — which leads Boston by percentage points for fourth in the East . Cleveland remained sixth, six games behind the Heat, but still ahead of Toronto in the hunt for the last playoff spot outside of the qualifying round.

Cleveland’s biggest lead was five, early in the third quarter. The Cavs opened the half on a 6-0 run, making their first two shots.

The rest of the third was all Miami.

Butler and Adebayo each had five points in the 13-0 push that set the Heat up for good; they each had four points in the 11-0 run later, giving Miami a 17-point lead.

Miami was without Caleb Martin, who suffered an awkward fall Wednesday in a loss to Phoenix and hypertensed his left knee. It was no worse than that, however, and the Heat retained him despite trying to convince Spoelstra otherwise before the game.

“Given how awkward it looked, that’s great news,” Spoelstra said.


Cavaliers: Cleveland missed its first nine shots. … The Cavs don’t know how long All-Star center Jarrett Allen (broken finger in left hand) will be out. “There’s a process to see the specialist and then…there are decisions that need to be made about treatment for rehabilitation,” Bickerstaff said. … Caris LeVert (sprained right foot) did a practice on the court before the game but missed his eighth straight contest.

Heat: Victor Oladipo played 17:35 in his third outing of the season, over five nights. He will sit Saturday during the second night of a back to back. … Miami had its usual starters – Adebayo, Butler, PJ Tucker, Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson – together for just the 25th time in 68 games this season. … Miami’s 9-0 run to start the game tied its best push to open a contest this season. The Heat also led New York 9-0 on January 26. … At 45-23, the Heat are poised to finish with the seventh-best record in the franchise’s 34 seasons.


Spoelstra played with Mobley’s father, Eric Mobley, at the University of Portland. “He looks exactly like him,” Spoelstra said.

1000 DOWN

The game was the 1,000th to be completed in the NBA this season. As of Saturday, the league will have 227 games remaining of the planned 1,230 that will be played before the play-in tournament begins in a month.


All Cleveland needs is four wins in its last 16 games to finish with a winning record this season. It will be the first time a Cavaliers team — without LeBron James — has finished over .500 since the 1997-98 team went 47-35.


Cavaliers: In Chicago on Saturday.

Heat: Host Minnesota on Saturday.


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Sandy A. Greer