Alonzo Mourning and Jamal Mashburn took Zydrunus Ilgauskus to school Tuesday night. Mashburn scored 21 points and Mourning 16 as he shut down Ilgauskus, the All-Star Rookie game MVP, in the Miami Heat's 91-81 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In a sluggish game that only picked up after Vitaly Potapenko and Tim Hardaway almost got into a fight, Miami's tough defense held Cleveland to just 26-for-78 shooting from the field.
Ilgauskus had the toughest night, shooting 3-for-12 and missing five straight free throws at one point, and finishing with a total of eight points. He had 23 points in Cleveland's 94-93 win over the Heat on Jan. 26. "He's a young fellow and he's going to keep learning," Mourning said. ``If he keeps working, though, he's really going to be a good player. Our defense was definitely a factor."
A frustrated Ilgauskus gave Mourning an extra shove out of bounds after the six-year veteran drove to the basket with 6:21 left in the game. Mourning laughed it off and hit two free throws to make it 81-65. "I was not tired from the (All-Star) weekend," Ilgauskus said. "I played hard. The team played hard. We just didn't make our shots."
Mourning also had a key basket during a decisive 10-2 run in the third quarter, taking a feed from Mashburn for an easy stuff to make it 59-41. Cleveland's Shawn Kemp was held to 14 points.
The victory, Miami's seventh in its last eight games against Cleveland, gave the Heat a four-game winning streak, tying their longest of the season. The Cavs have lost three in a row for the first time this season.
The pace of the game was sluggish until Cleveland's Potapenko and Miami's Hardaway nearly came to blows with 2:49 left in the third quarter. As the Cavs brought the ball up the court, Hardaway pushed the 6-foot-10 Potapenko hard with his forearm. Potapenko raised his fists and the two were pulled apart before both were ejected.
Hardaway later accused Potapenko of twice trying to elbow him, once as Hardaway came around a pick and again as the 6-foot guard drove to the basket. "He's a dirty ball player," Hardaway said. "I don't just go off or act crazy for nothing." But Potapenko said Hardaway shouldn't judge him. "Whatever he says is his business," Potapenko said. ``I don't know him, he doesn't know me."
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