Game 56: Cavs at Heat
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio
WHAT HAPPENED: This one should hurt. The Cavs had an eight-point lead, 97-89, with 5:16 remaining in the game, yet allowed the Heat to come back.
It was exactly like the last meeting at AmericanAirlines Arena on Nov. 24. They lost that game on Ray Allen's 3-pointer with 18 seconds left, which capped a 9-0 run to close the contest.
This time, the Cavs had two major defensive blunders down the stretch. One was in transition when Shane Battier found himself wide open and he buried a 3. The other came with 24.4 seconds left when Dwyane Wade drove right down Broadway en route to a dunk and a 105-101 lead.
The Cavs were supposed to switch on the play. He turned the corner on Dion Waiters, and that was Alonzo Gee's cue to step in front of Wade and prevent him from getting all the way to the basket. He didn't, and Wade exploited the Cavs' defense.
Coach Byron Scott was upset about the two plays, and rightfully so. But the breakdowns continue to happen time after time.
What he shouldn't be miffed about was the Cavs' never-say-die attitude against the defensive NBA champion Heat. They have now won 11 in a row and are the hottest team in the league.
They had 20- and 22-point leads on the Cavs, yet the latter kept coming back. They blitzed the Heat in the third quarter, 36-17, to take an 82-81 lead entering the fourth.
Swingman C.J. Miles shot the Cavs back in the game. He finished with 19 points and made 5 of 9 from behind the arc.
Waiters was outstanding with a team-high 26 points and three assists. He made 11 of 17 from the field and couldn't be stopped attacking the basket.
Guard Kyrie Irving had 17 points and five assists, while power forward Tristan Thompson finished with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
The Cavs shot 50 percent from the field and outrebounded the Heat, 35-34.
Forward LeBron James led all scorers with 28 points and eight assists. It was Wade, though, that really hurt the Cavs with 24 points, five rebounds, six assists, two blocks and one steal. He had 15 points in the fourth quarter.
The Cavs would love to finish 2-1 on this trip. It ends in Chicago on Tuesday, which is not a good thing. The Bulls just show up on the court and beat the living crap out of the Cavs. It's been going on since Scott arrived on the scene.
The Cavs were a bit short-handed, as guard Daniel Gibson (personal reasons) and forward Omri Casspi (appendectomy) wasn't in uniform.
The Cavs are now 8-22 on the road this season. On the second night of a back-to-back, they are 3-13.
NEWS FEED: Barry Jackson's story in the Miami Herald on the Heat winning their 10th game in a row.
LAST GAME: The Cavs defeated Orlando on Saturday, 118-94.
SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. LeBron James (6-8, 250)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Udonis Haslem (6-8, 235)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Chris Bosh (6-11, 235)
G Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Dwyane Wade (6-4, 220)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Mario Chalmers (6-2, 190)
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, G Josh Selby
Heat - F Jarvis Varnado
Ed Malloy, Nick Buchert, Violet Palmer