MIAMI – Death, taxes and the Cleveland Cavaliers lose in Miami. These are the three certainties in life. Benjamin Franklin just didn’t know the last part.
The Cavs lost again to the Heat on Saturday night, 115-101. You haven’t won in Miami since January 25, 2010. That’s 20 direct drives without a win.
Cavs trainer JB Bickerstaff was asked about the futility earlier in the morning and said the team tried not to bring it up. Many of these losses came before this group of players. But everyone knows. It’s an obvious weight. It has to end sometime, right? The chances have to shift? Just not Saturday.
In the first half, Cleveland’s defense was a problem. The heat poured in 67 points while 58.1% and 47.6% were shot from 3 point range. Four players from Miami had already achieved double-digit numbers at the end of those crackling 24 minutes. The Cavs made adjustments at halftime, picking up physicality and limiting Miami to 48 points for the last two quarters, including a paltry 17 in the third. But Cleveland’s offensive subsided and barely cracked the 100-point mark for the first time in five games.
“I thought it was a story of two halves,” said Bickerstaff after the loss. “I thought we did a phenomenal job this second half. I thought our scrap and grit were much better in the second half. You play a caliber team like this with the guns they have. You have to play for 48. There were only little games that I thought would let us down early on. “
Starting center Jarrett Allen, home after a concussion, missed his fourth game in a row. Larry Nance Jr. didn’t make the trip either, as he was absent for a third time in a row. Kevin Love stayed on a tight minute limit, playing 23 minutes before being pulled in the fourth quarter and riding the exercise bike for the remainder of the night.
In his sixth game that season, Love finished the game with a double-doubles, scoring 10 points for 10 rebounds.
“We’ve improved a bit compared to the last game,” said Bickerstaff of Love’s minute limit. “He’s working on catching his rhythm. He’ll do the 3s he has tonight, he’ll catch his rhythm and they’ll go. But you see his presence on the defensive lens, you see how teams respect him and how they protect him, it also helps his teammates to be open. “
Collin Sexton led the way, scoring 26 points in an 11-of-17 off the field. Taurean Prince, who recently returned from a sprained shoulder and played an ankle less than 100 percent, took 19 points off the bench. Rookie Isaac Okoro added a career high of 17 in 5-of-7. Cleveland shot 47.3% on the night. It made 10 3-pointers. 25 assists spread over 35 shots taken. But also committed 16 turnovers which the heat turned into 16 points.
Miami took a surgical, balanced approach on the offensive. Seven players hit double digits, led by Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson. They scored 18. Miami made 15 triples.
With 1:47 in the game, starting point guard Darius Garland tried to bring charges against Trevor Ariza. Referee Dannica Mosher called it a block instead. While Garland was angry at the call, he hit the ball over Mosher’s head and kept shouting his displeasure. He was whistled for a technical foul and his first career exclusion.
“They decided to throw him on a technique that I totally disagree with,” Bickerstaff said. “There is no justification for knocking him out of the game for a technical reason.”
That moment captured Garland’s frustration – and so did the Cavs. Traveling to Miami has become a nightmare.
The Cavs will continue their three-game road trip against the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
New Cavs Face Masks For Sale: Here, you can purchase Cleveland Cavaliers-themed face covers for coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($ 14.99) and a pack of 3 ($ 24.99). All NBA proceeds are donated to charity.
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