Cavs ball movement pays big dividends in rout of Heat
CLEVELAND --- The Cleveland Cavaliers continued their winning ways as they kept to their formula in a 113-93 win over the Miami Heat in front of a sellout crowd at Quicken Loans Arena. The game was also nationally televised on ESPN on Wednesday night.
The Cavs are 25-1 when scoring 102 or more points.
The big difference in the win over the Heat was the fact that seven players scored in double figures, the first time that has happened this season.
"First of all, when you're getting stops and running the ball up the court, a lot of guys are going to be involved," coach David Blatt said. "We got out on the break so the ball is going to move around in that respect."
The Cavs finished with 32 assists on 44 field goals, shooting 56.4 percent for the game. J.R. Smith and LeBron James led the Cavs with seven assists apiece. Kyrie Irving added six.
"We stayed consistent and stayed consistent and kept moving the ball," Blatt said. "That's why there was equality with our scorers."
All five starters were in double figures with Timofey Mozgov leading the way with 20 points, followed by James with 18, Tristan Thompson 17, Irving 15 and Iman Shumpert had 13. Kevin Love scored 12 and Smith had 10.
Blatt likes what Mozgov has brought to the Cavaliers.
"I thought he was a pretty easy fit with our team to begin with," Blatt said. "His transition and fit into our team has been smooth and he's taken advantage of it, playing with the passion and energy that we needed when Andy (Varejeo) went down (with a season-ending injury)."
Love injured his eye when hit by Mario Chalmers with 9:48 left in the third quarter and did not return.
"I've felt for a while that we've been coming around," Blatt said. "But it is unusual to see seven guys in double figures."
Blatt was pleased with the performance by the bench that scored 38 points, led by Thompson and Shumpert.
"The bench scored 38 points and that certainly helps," Blatt said. "It was a high-level performance by Tristan.
"He's always ready and energetic," he said. "Iman was a big part of (the bench play)." He played at a high level."
Blistering: The Cavs shot 69.6 percent in the first quarter on 16-of-23, including 5-of-7 from three-point range (71.4 percent). For the game, the Cavs shot 56.4 percent from the field. The Cavs jumped out to a 52-26 lead in the second quarter, before being outscored 22-7 the remainder of the first half to lead 59-48 at intermission.
Luol Returns: Former Cav Luol Deng finished with 17 points in his first return to Cleveland since played with the Cavs last season. Deng had eight points in the first half and finished 5-of-13 from the field (3-of-5 from three-point range). Deng had seven rebounds, two assists, two steals in 40:12.
Norris Back: Former Cleveland State player Norris Cole also returned to Cleveland with the Heat and scored seven points. He was 3-of-7 from the field with one three-point shot and two assists in 21:34.
No Wade: Only one of the original Heat 'Big 3' played against the Cavs. Obviously, James is with Cleveland, but Dwyane Wade was inactive with a hamstring injury. Chris Bosh finished with 15 points, but he was just 5-of-17 from the field with two rebounds and three assists.
Turnaround: The Cavs had lost 11 straight to Miami, including five straight at the Q., They lost 10 of 11 with LeBron James on Miami.
Almost to the break: The Cavs will travel to Chicago to play the Bulls Thursday night before the NBA All-Star break.