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Terry Rozier saves the night for the Heat with late dramatics in 107-104 victory in Cleveland

CLEVELAND —  That trade for Terry Rozier in January, the one for a future first-round pick and Kyle Lowry? It seemingly was made for this moment.

With Rozier completing a late four-point play and then hitting a go-ahead 3-pointer with 14.5 seconds to play, the Miami Heat stole into the night Wednesday with a 107-104 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, despite being without Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson and Kevin Love.

“This,” coach Erik Spoelstra said, “is why we wanted him here. He’s a great clutch performer and he’s been that way his entire career.”

And was again, also closing out the scoring with a pair of free throws with 2.8 seconds to play.

“Big shots at the end,” Rozier said, “that’s what I love to take.”

Even with the Heat forced to field a starting lineup that featured Thomas Bryant and Patty Mills, Rozier stepped up to finish off what Jimmy Butler had set up with his scoring.

“I just know we had to get some kind of momentum,” Rozier said after providing just that.

So make it a 3-1 trip and restored hope of avoiding the treacherous play-in round at the start of the postseason.

“Everybody on our roster,” Spoelstra said, “put their fingerprints on this game.”

Rozier closed with 24 points, including 5 of 6 on 3-pointers, scoring 11 in the fourth quarter.

“Terry,” Butler said, “put on a show.”

Butler led the Heat with 30 points, with the Heat also getting 14 from Nikola Jovic and 10 from Mills.

The Cavaliers got 25 points and 20 rebounds from center Jarrett Allen, who seized upon Adebayo’s absence, his fifth career 20-20 game, with Cleveland guard Darius Garland scoring 20, but missing a 34-foot heave just before the final buzzer.

The Heat next return to Kaseya Center for a four-game homestand.

Five Degrees of Heat from Wednesday night’s game:

1. Closing time: The Heat led 31-30 at the end of  the first period, 61-57 at halftime and 83-75 going into the fourth.

The Heat then tried to give Butler a break by subbing in Haywood Highsmith for him with 7:08 to play while up 89-85.

Consecutive 3-pointers later got Cleveland within 92-91, with the Heat calling time and then reinserting Butler.

A 3-point play by Georges Niang then put Cleveland ahead 96-94 with 4:19 to play, with a pair of Niang free throws later putting Cleveland ahead 100-96 with 1:34 to play.

And then, with 1:24 remaining, Rozier stepped back for a 3-pointer, was fouled and converted. The Cavaliers unsuccessfully challenged the foul, with Rozier completing the four-point play for a 100-100 tie.

He said he knew he was going for a 3-pointer all the way, “They went up four and the momentum had changed.”

Baskets by Butler and Allen followed, leaving the Heat in possession with 31.9 seconds to play in a 102-102 tie.

From there, Rozier hit a step-back 3-pointer with 14.5 seconds to play for a 105-102 lead.

“That step back,” Rozier said, “I put a lot of work in on that.”

A layup by Niang got Cleveland with 105-104 with 3.7 seconds left.

Fouled with 2.8 seconds to play, Rozier then converted both free throws to close the scoring.

Out of timeouts, the Cavaliers then fell when Garland was off at the buzzer.

2. Back and back at it: Butler was up to 20 points with 4:49 left in the second period in his first game back after missing two with a bruised right foot. Included in that early scoring was a 3-pointer on his first attempt from beyond the arc.

Thirteen of Butler’s points came in the second period

“I’m OK,” Butler said of the foot. “I had to rest it.”

Butler later hit another 3-pointer in the third quarter.

3. And No. 33: The Heat opened with lineup No. 33, further surpassing the previous season high of 31 set in 2014-15, this time opening with Butler, Mills, Bryant, Jovic and Rozier.

That lineup had not played a single second together prior to Wednesday night.

Mills became the 18th player to start this season for the Heat, two off the franchise record set in 2014-15,

“Niko was terrific,” said Spoelstra, with Jovic having missed the previous two games with a hamstring strain. His effort included 4-of-10 shooting on 3-pointers.

4. Mills maximizes: Mills scored all 10 of his points in the first half after scoring a combined six points in his previous four appearances.

It was Mills’ first start since he started two games in 2022-23 with the Brooklyn Nets.

“He’s been a plus basically every game that he played in,” Spoelstra said of Mills’ play since joining the Heat at the buyout deadline last month. “And he definitely impacts our offense with his spacing and his movement.”

With his first 3-pointer, Mills moved into third place all-time in 3-pointers off the bench, his 1,236 moving him past Lou Williams and leaving him now behind only Kyle Korver (1,385) and Jamal Crawford (1,259).

5. Middle men: With Adebayo and Love both out, leaving the Heat without their starting and backup centers, Bryant got his fourth start of the season.

While active early, with three rebounds and two points in his opening 5:19, Bryant then was forced to the bench with his second foul.

Orlando Robinson, who had played Tuesday night for the Heat’s G League team in a game in Memphis, then entered. Robinson promptly drained a 3-pointer and scored on a three-point play before the close of that opening period.

Bryant closed with 10 rebounds and six points.

“Thomas just continues to get more comfortable and more acclimated to what we do,” Spoelstra said.

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