Heat Check: Miami can't withstand Cavaliers in loss on road
The Miami Heat enjoyed some holiday cheer with their home victory against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Christmas Day.
Wednesday night, they had no answers for a revamped Cavaliers offense that surged ahead from the start en route to a 113-93 victory over Miami. To make matters worse for the Heat, their sloppy play resulted in six turnovers in the first quarter that Cleveland cashed in for 15 points.
With Chris Bosh struggling with his shot and Hassan Whiteside ineffective early on offense while allowing opposing center Timofey Mozgov to control the paint, Cleveland raced out to a 20-4 run. The 38 points scored by the Cavaliers was the second most allowed by the Heat in the first quarter.
The Cavaliers increased their lead in the second quarter with another 10-0 run and were up by 26 points before Shabazz Napier, Luol Deng and Whiteside helped power a 18-5 run to cut the lead to 10 points. Napier scored six points and dished out five assists, and Whiteside had 11 points and seven rebounds in the first half.
Any chance the Heat had of cutting the Cavaliers' lead to single digits to open the second half was erased when they missed their first nine shots of the third quarter and allowed the home team to go on another big run.
Mario Chalmers scored 11 points in the third quarter to lead a nine-point run to make it 75-63 with three and a half minutes left. The deficit proved too much to overcome down the stretch for a team missing leading scorer Dwyane Wade against a team that has raised their overall level of play since trading for Mozgov, who had a season-high 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting along with seven rebounds.
The loss ends the Heat's 11-game winning streak against the Cavaliers and drops them back to the eight seed in the East entering the All-Star break.
THE TURNING POINT
Miami showed some life in the last six minutes of the second quarter to keep it close, but Cleveland squashed any momentum by scoring nine straight points to start the third.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
James showcased his all-around game with 18 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, but all five Cavaliers starters reached double digits in scoring.
STAT OF THE GAME
Cleveland tallied 14 assists on 16 made field goals in the first quarter and 32 assists from 44 field goals for the game.
The Heat visit New York Knicks on Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m.