It was a tale of two halves for the Cleveland Cavaliers(17-32) in Miami on Saturday night. Cleveland had a hard time stopping the Heat(26-24) in the first half. Miami scored 67 points and shot 58% from the field, including 47%(10-21) from three-point range, and ultimately, they led 67-54 at halftime.
Cleveland tightened the screws in the third quarter, which has been an Achilles heel for this team all season long. However, on Saturday night, they came out and defended well. They held the Heat to 17 points in the quarter, including 33% from the field. Unfortunately, Cleveland only scored 19 points in that quarter, and they would eventually fall on the road 115-101.
The Cavaliers have now lost 20 straight games in Miami and have not won there since 2010.
Miami had seven guys in double figures led by Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, who had 18 points apiece. Adebayo also added 11 rebounds. For Cleveland, Collin Sexton had a game-high 26 points, Taurean Prince had a season-best 19 points off the bench, and rookie Isaac Okoro finished with a career-high 17 points.
While the Cavaliers lost their fifth straight game and six of their last seven, Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff was happy with how the team played in the second half, but he knows they have to play a complete game to beat the Heat.
“I thought it was a tale of two halves,” Bickerstaff said. “I thought we were really good in the second half. We come out and hold this team to 17 points; I thought we did a phenomenal job in that second half. I thought our scrap and our grit was much better in the second half. Again, you’re playing a caliber of team like this with the weapons they have. You gotta play it for 48.”
Late in the fourth, frustration started to boil over for the Cavaliers. Darius Garland tried to take a charge on Trevor Ariza, but he was called for a blocking foul. An angry Garland punched the ball and was assessed a technical foul, which led to his ejection.
Bickerstaff took issue with the ejection.
“They decided to throw him out on one technical, which I completely disagree with,” Bickerstaff said. “There’s no justification for throwing him out of the game on one technical.”
Cleveland will try to snap their five-game losing streak when they head to San Antonio to battle the Spurs. The Cavaliers will complete their three-game road trip against the Thunder on Thursday night.
Kevin Love posted his 1st double-double of the season with 10 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and one block in 23 minutes.