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

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Game 68: Heat at Cavs

MIAMI HEAT (46-19) 100, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (26-42) 96
Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED?: This will mark the first extended stint this season without point guard Kyrie Irving. He will miss at least the next two weeks with a strained tendon in his left biceps. Many are predicting we won't see him again this season.

Dion Waiters moved into the starting lineup at shooting guard. He was quite good with his first career double-double with 17 points and a career-high 11 assists.

The thing I'll remember, though, was his drive to the basket with 28.9 seconds remaining. The stat sheet credited LeBron James with a block on the play. When I first saw the play, I didn't think much of it.

However, after seeing the replay, Waiters was fouled not once, but by James and power forward Udonis Haslem. Even Cavs majority owner Dan Gilbert tweeted about the non-call, and could hear from the commissioner's office for his comments.

It didn't cost the Cavs the game. They were down by five at the time, 95-90. Still, it was a foul. I don't harp very often much about the refs, but this one was terrible.

James had three blocks on the night. Oh, and he had 43 points, too. He was absolutely on fire in the first quarter. He missed a 3 in the first, or he would have been 11 of 11 from the field in the opening quarter.

After his 25-point first quarter, he had 18 thereafter. I know this sounds crazy, but I thought Alonzo Gee did a decent job on defense in the game. James is not the most dominant player in the NBA for nothing.

The Cavs were playing with their top two scorers in Kyrie Irving and Luol Deng. That's about 35 points of offense right there. I don't know if Deng will play on Thursday vs. Oklahoma City.

This is one of the toughest portions of the Cavs' schedule. Two-time defending NBA champion Miami is the start of a three-game homestand. The Thunder and Houston follow. The three teams have a combined record of 140-59 (.703). The Cavs won't be favored to win any of these games.

The Cavs have lost 10 in a row to the Heat. Forward LeBron James has lost just once to the Cavs since he left in free agency. That came on March 29, 2011.

The Heat finished 3-0 against the Cavs this season. That could hurt the Cavs when the tie-breakers are announced for the playoffs (just kidding). Of course, there will be no postseason this year for the Cavs.

Without their closer (Irving), it's going to be difficult for the Cavs to win down the stretch in games. Waiters will score - that's what he does - but the thing to keep your eye on is whether the ball moves to the open man. He was good on Tuesday finding the open man.

The Cavs welcomed back swingman C.J. Miles on Tuesday. He missed the previous 12 games with a sprained left ankle. However, he lasted all of 1:21 in the game and came out.

UP NEXT: The Cavs host Oklahoma City at 7 p.m. Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. LeBron James (6-8, 250)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 236) vs. Chris Bosh (6-11, 235)
C Spencer Hawes (7-1, 245) vs. Greg Oden (7-0, 273)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 225) vs. Toney Douglas (6-2, 185)
PG Jarrett Jack (6-3, 200) vs. Mario Chalmers (6-2, 190)
Cavs - G Kyrie Irving, G Carrick Felix
Heat - G Dwyane Wade, C Justin Hamilton
Tom Washington, Eric Dalen, Zach Zarba


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