MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — The Miami Heat took a big step towards solidifying a playoff spot against an old friend.
Kelly Olynyk scored 19 points, Dwyane Wade blocked a pair of shots by LeBron James as part of a stifling defensive effort by Miami, and the Heat had little trouble on the way to beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 98-79 on Tuesday night.
Josh Richardson and James Johnson each scored 15 points for Miami, which led 54-34 at halftime and has won 10 of its last 11 home games. Wade finished with 12 against the team he spent part of this season with before getting traded back to Miami.
Goran Dragic added 10 for the Heat, who could clinch an Eastern Conference playoff spot by week’s end.
James finished with 18 points for the Cavaliers, whose previous season low for points was 88. The Cavs are 1-13 this season when held under 100; they’re 43-17 when scoring more than 100.
It was the 865th consecutive regular-season game in which James scored at least 10 points, putting him one shy of tying Michael Jordan for the longest such streak in NBA history. James can tie the mark in Charlotte — against the Jordan-owned Hornets — on Wednesday.
Rodney Hood added 15 for Cleveland, which lost Kevin Love at halftime to a loose tooth. He finished with only one point in seven minutes.
It was Miami’s 14th consecutive home win over the Cavaliers, including a 4-0 mark when James plays in Miami since leaving the Heat after the 2014 NBA Finals.
Wade blocked his close friend once in the second quarter, once more in the fourth, both times from behind — and finished with four of Miami’s nine blocks in the game.
Cleveland came in averaging 31 points per quarter over its last five games, then managed only 34 in the first half against the Heat.
They shot 30 percent in the half, just 9 percent — 1 for 11 — from the 3-point line and were an awful 9 for 22 inside the paint. James had 13 points, four assists and three rebounds by the break; the other four Cavs starters combined for seven points, two assists and four rebounds.
It was great for Miami, ghastly for Cleveland.
Love got hurt while committing a foul 1:22 into the game, taking an elbow from Heat center Jordan Mickey and getting a loose tooth in the process. Love returned to start the second quarter, then was ruled out after being evaluated again at halftime.
Cleveland showed life in the third, getting within 13 late in the quarter and then having three shots to cut even more off Miami’s lead. But Miami was still up 75-59 going into the fourth, after Wade — moments after checking in for the first time in about an hour of real time — connected on a step-back jumper with 17 seconds left in the third.
Cavaliers: James has played in all 74 Cavs games, matching his total from last season. It was his first time playing at Miami since March 19, 2016. … Cleveland changed its starting lineup, with Jeff Green in for Larry Nance Jr. … Kyle Korver remained away from the team, one day after the funeral for his brother. Interim coach Larry Drew said Korver is expected back soon, though the team has not revealed if an exact comeback date has been determined.
Heat: Coach Erik Spoelstra was back with the team, two days after he and his wife Nikki’s first child — Santiago Ray Spoelstra — was born. … Miami was down two centers — Hassan Whiteside (left hip) remains out, and Bam Adebayo missed the game with a sprained ankle that the Heat think will be better in a few days.
In three games against Miami this season, the Cavaliers used a total of 20 players. The only Cavs to play in all three meetings were James, J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson.
Miami’s next five games are all against teams well out of the playoff picture, with the next three of those games — against Chicago, Brooklyn and Atlanta — all at home. After road games at Atlanta and New York, the Heat then finish at home against Oklahoma City and Toronto.
Cavaliers: Visit Charlotte on Wednesday.
Heat: Host Chicago on Thursday.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)