LeBron leaves game with cramps, Heat rally to beat CSKA Moscow
The Heat went on a 23-4 run in the third quarter to rally and beat CSKA Moscow
LeBron James scored 22 points but left the game in the third quarter (cramps)
Chris Bosh added 17 and former Duke star Trajan Langdon had 20 for Moscow
MIAMI (AP) -- CSKA Moscow provided one scare, then LeBron James gave Miami another.
The Heat survived both.
James scored 22 points in 26 minutes before leaving with leg cramps in the third quarter, Chris Bosh added 17 points and eight rebounds, and the Heat overcame an early 10-point deficit to beat the Euroleague powerhouse 96-85 in an exhibition on Tuesday night.
"I'm fine,'' said James, who will travel with the Heat to New Orleans but is not expected to play Wednesday - which the two-time reigning MVP revealed postgame was the Heat plan even before the cramping issue. "I can be ready the next game if I needed to play.''
Former Duke star Trajan Langdon scored 20 for CSKA Moscow, which got 17 from Jamont Gordon and 15 from Ramunas Siskauskas.
It took a 23-4 run in the third quarter - with James and Bosh combining for 19 of those points - for Miami to create any sort of comfort zone over their Russian guests, who will also face Oklahoma City and Cleveland on their NBA preseason tour before returning to Moscow early next week.
"Second half, we just concentrated on doing our jobs, doing what we do, doing it with effort and doing it right, doing it how we've been trying to do it since training camp,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "And our focus and commitment was better.''
This one wasn't decided until the final minutes.
Langdon's jumper with 4:15 remaining cut Miami's lead to five, but the Heat answered with four quick points. Kenny Hasbrouck - fighting for a roster spot - found Udonis Haslem for a layup on the next Miami possession, then added a driving layup in transition for a 90-81 lead.
Hasbrouck finished with 12 points and four assists for Miami, as his long shot bid to make the team might have received a boost.
"Who knows?'' Spoelstra said. "And that's what I've told him. Just play. Play your game. ... If you play poorly, nothing's going to happen, so you only control what you can control, and he's an attacking player.''
Matjaz Smodis scored 11 for CSKA Moscow.
Miami played again without Dwyane Wade, who is continuing to recover from a strained right hamstring suffered in the preseason opener on Oct. 5. Mike Miller started in his place again for the Heat, who were also without Carlos Arroyo and Jamaal Magloire, neither of whom is expected to be back when Miami visits New Orleans on Wednesday.
James reached for his right hamstring with 3:51 left in the third quarter, walking with a bit of a limp off the floor and then quickly through the tunnel toward the Miami locker room. He was followed moments later by Wade, who emerged moments later smiling - a good sign.
Alas, there was some big-time angst until the diagnosis came.
"It's not a great sight for a coach,'' Spoelstra said. "Come on.''
CSKA Moscow got quite a welcome: An opera singer performed the Russian national anthem, and a group of fans waved the nation's flag directly across from the visiting bench. The Heat even exchanged gifts with their Euroleague foes just before tip-off.
They felt comfortable, for certain.
Bosh took a lob pass from James and scored 15 seconds into the game. The lead - Miami's only edge of the half - didn't last, and the visitors weren't the least bit intimidated, either.
By the midway point of the opening quarter, it was 13-6. When Siskauskas hit a jumper with 4:24 left, CSKA Moscow stretched its edge to 17-7. And after James hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 34 with 4:16 remaining until halftime, the Russian club peeled off the next seven points, all from the foul line, five of them coming from Langdon.
At halftime, the lead was 44-39. This wasn't against the Heat third-stringers and guys playing for jobs, either. James played 18 minutes in the opening half - only Siskauskas logged more, and that was by a mere 56 seconds.
"We've played against NBA teams before,'' Langdon said. "We know that this is a very good Heat team. We know that there is a lot of new players here. We've been in camp a little bit longer than them so I think our rhythm and playing together, we know what we're doing a little bit more than they do at this time in terms of knowing each other.''
Eventually, James decided enough was enough.
His acrobatic layup with 8:38 left in the third, while getting fouled, put Miami ahead 50-49. On the ensuing CSKA possession, James got a steal on the right wing, then found Miller for a left-handed layup and a three-point lead that had the Russian club quickly calling for a timeout.
James hit a free throw with 3:53 left, giving Miami a 63-53 lead two seconds before he departed. Miami led the rest of the way.
"The fact that we came out in the third quarter and showed a sense of urgency that we needed, it was great,'' James said. "It's good basketball.''
Notes: Mario Chalmers, who has battled ankle soreness since a nasty sprain this summer, was limping after scoring the final points of the game. Spoelstra wasn't concerned, saying the team is sure Chalmers' ankle isn't getting worse, and Chalmers said it's up to Spoelstra if he plays Wednesday. ... Of the 10 Heat players who logged minutes, only starting center Joel Anthony did not score - or shoot, for that matter. ... Miami outscored CSKA 57-41 after halftime. ... Langdon, on his advice to the NBA when it comes to facing the Heat: "You better catch them early because I think towards March they can be really, really good.''
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