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Find out the scoop on the CAVS from award-winning sports writer Bob Finnan.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Game 16: Cavs at Heat

at AmericanAirlines Arena

I made the comment that the Cavs could play well on Tuesday and still lose by 10 or more points. I was wrong. They lost by seven.

Coach Byron Scott had to be happy with how hard the Cavs played. That's got to be a constant. Every night they've got to play with fire. None of this going-through-the-motions stuff we saw against Chicago and Atlanta.

Sure, they were good teams and were favored to beat the Cavs. But the Cavs need to come out and battle, fight and scrap. That intensity returned on Tuesday against LeBron James and the Heat.

Anthony Parker and Alonzo Gee played well defensively against James, who finished with 18 points, five rebounds, five assists and five turnovers. He was 8 of 21 from the field.

He wasn't the reason the Heat prevailed. Chris Bosh destroyed everyone in front of him to the tune of a season-high 35 points. He was 10 of 16 from the field and perfect on 14 free throws.

The rest test will come on Wednesday when the Cavs return home to face New York. This is a winnable game, but the Cavs have yet to win this year on the second night of a back-to-back set. They are 0-4 heading into Wednesday's game.

The Heat played without guard Dwyane Wade on Tuesday. He has a sprained left ankle. The Heat are 7-1 with him out of the lineup.

James is second in the NBA in scoring at 29.7 points per game. He's also averaging 8.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.07 steals.The former Cavs forward could be headed to another Most Valuable Player award. He's playing at an extremely high level.

Wade has appeared in just nine games this season. His absence hasn't prevented the Heat from winning four of their last five games.
Heat guard Norris Cole is averaging 8.8 points and 2.8 assists. The former Cleveland State standout has played in all 17 games. He had 10 points and three rebounds on Tuesday.

The Cavs placed rookie power forward Tristan Thompson on the inactive list with a sprained left ankle. Samardo Samuels stepped in and had 15 points and five rebounds.  He had five dunks on the night. His performance will warrant more playing time, and it's about time.

UP NEXT: The Cavs host New York at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena.

SF Omri Casspi (6-9, 225) vs. LeBron James (6-8, 260)
PF Antawn Jamison (6-9, 235) vs. Chris Bosh (6-11, 235)
C Anderson Varejao (6-11, 260) vs. Joel Anthony (6-9, 245)
SG Anthony Parker (6-6, 210) vs. Shane Battier (6-8, 225)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Mario Chalmers (6-2, 190)
Cavs – F/C Tristan Thompson, G Mychel Thompson
Heat - G Dwyane Wade, C Mickell Gladness 
Tony Brothers,  Kevin Fehr,  Michael Smith


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