Heat 96, Cavaliers 95
CLEVELAND -- Heat guard Norris Cole blocked a shot by Kyrie Irving with three seconds left, preserving Miami's 96-95 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday at Quicken Loans Arena.
Cole, a first-round pick in 2011 from Cleveland State, flirted with his first career triple-double. He finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, making six of 12 shots from the field.
The rejection of Irving's shot made up for Cole missing two free throws with 13.9 seconds left and the Heat clinging to a one-point advantage.
Irving's layup with 19 seconds remaining pulled the Cavs to within 96-95.
The Heat (65-16) played without their top six players, including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. However, it didn't prevent them from winning their league-high seventh game in a row. They've won 36 of their past 38 games.
Miami will host the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs this weekend.
Cavs coach Byron Scott could have been coaching for the last time at The Q. His job appears to be in jeopardy.
Cleveland (24-57) has lost five in a row and 15 of its past 17. The Cavs close the season against the Bobcats in Charlotte on Wednesday.
Forward Rashard Lewis paced the Heat with 19 points, while swingman James Jones added 14 points. Center Joel Anthony had 11 points and had a season-high nine rebounds.
Both swingman Mike Miller and guard Ray Allen added 11 points for Miami.
The Heat shot 50 percent from the field, compared to Cleveland's 45.3 percent. Miami outrebounded the Cavs 45-38.
Cavs power forward Tristan Thompson amassed 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds for his 31st double-double on the season.
Irving ended with 16 points and eight assists, but shot just 7-for-19 from the field, 1-for-5 from behind the 3-point arc.
Guard Dion Waiters added 16 points, 12 in the second quarter. Forward Alonzo Gee contributed 13 points.
Forward Kevin Jones added 10 points for the Cavs, his second double-figure performance in as many nights.
Miami led 80-71 after three quarters.
The Heat started the third quarter on a 19-7 run. Anthony's layup handed Miami a 68-59 cushion with 4:53 left in the third quarter.
NOTES: Rumors continue to swirl about Byron Scott's job security. However, there is no quit in Scott. After his team's lackluster performance in Philadelphia on Sunday, the first game of a back-to-back set, he called for a rare shootaround on Monday. "I'm not throwing in the towel," Scott said. "I want them to know the season is not over." ... In addition to James, Wade and Bosh, the Heat played without forward Shane Battier, forward Udonis Haslem and guard Mario Chalmers. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra took the decision out of James' hands about whether he was going to play. "I know this is a special place for him," Spoelstra said. "I don't care. I didn't ask." James has been bothered by a sore hamstring. "He had some tightness after last night," Spoelstra said. ... If James' season is over, as expected, he averaged 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists. He shot a career-high 56.5 percent from the field. "He's in the physical prime of his career," Spoelstra said. "Who knows how much better he can be." ... Cavs swingman C.J. Miles remains out of the lineup with a concussion. He's nearing the end of the steps required by NBA protocol guidelines, but he's running out of time to play this season. "He still has to go through some contact," Scott said. ... Cavs power forward Luke Walton (sprained ankle) also missed the game.
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