TIM REYNOLDS, AP Basketball Writer
MIAMI (AP) — Goran Dragic scored 23 points, Hassan Whiteside had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and the Miami Heat beat the undermanned Cleveland Cavaliers 120-92 on Saturday night.
Tyler Johnson added 17 points for the Heat, who won for the 18th time in their last 22 games.
LeBron James and Kyrie Irving sat out for Cleveland, both getting the night off to rest. The Cavaliers fell to 0-5 this season when James isn’t in the lineup, and continue to be without two other would-be starters in Kevin Love and J.R. Smith — both still recovering from surgeries. Newly signed center Andrew Bogut also wasn’t with the Cavaliers.
Channing Frye scored 21 points and Kyle Korver added 15 for the Cavaliers, who have lost their last 12 games in Miami. This one was largely drama-free until the final seconds, when players from both sides did a little shouting back and forth, with Miami’s Dion Waiters — a former Cavs guard — among those most upset.
Both benches spilled onto the court as time expired, though everyone retreated relatively quickly. The teams play again Monday in Cleveland.
The Heat remained 1 1/2 games behind Detroit for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference race. Cleveland’s lead over idle Boston for the No. 1 spot in the East was trimmed to 2 1/2 games.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said this wouldn’t be the last time James sits before the end of the regular season. He’s averaging nearly 38 minutes per game, and has played more minutes — by far — than anyone else in the NBA over the last seven seasons, in large part because James keeps leading his teams to the NBA Finals.
He’s been to the last six of those, and the Cavs want to make sure he’s fresh enough come playoff time to have the best possible chance at No. 7.
“He understands the big picture and what we’re trying to accomplish,” Lue said. “The guy’s played so many minutes over the course of his career, and going to six straight Finals he has to take some rest at times.”
A 13-3 run by Miami to close the half sent the Heat into the locker room with a 67-51 lead, and they kept pulling away in the third. Dragic had 10 points in that quarter and the lead swelled to 101-75 going into the fourth.
Cavaliers: A night after setting an NBA regular-season record with 25 3-pointers, the Cavs went 11 for 27 from beyond the arc. … James, who tackled a Heat fan in celebration after one made a halfcourt shot for $75,000 in 2013, cheered when another made a shot Saturday for 100,000 frequent-flier miles. … Lue said he was feeling under the weather for the second consecutive game.
Heat: The 12 straight home wins against Cleveland is Miami’s second-longest active such streak. The Heat have won 15 in a row at home over Sacramento. … Luke Babbitt went 3 for 4 from 3-point range, making him 20 for 30 from long range in his last 10 games. He’s gone from shooting 37 percent to 42 percent in that span. … Miami has scored at least 100 points in 10 straight home games. The Heat had 101 after three quarters Saturday.
Richard Jefferson — who briefly planned to retire after the Cavs won last season’s NBA title — took some heckling from a fan in stride. Jefferson got asked by a courtside ticketholder why he doesn’t retire again, and Jefferson had a quick response. “You aren’t tired of watching me,” Jefferson said.
Heat forward James Johnson needed stitches to repair a cut in his right elbow, and Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert chipped two teeth. Both of those injuries occurred in the third quarter.
The teams meet again Monday in Cleveland. James and Irving are expected to play, and the Cavaliers also plan on Bogut making his debut.
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