Final Dime: Heat 117, Cavaliers 90
Ramon Sessions finished with 11 points and seven assists in Monday night's loss in Miami.
1. As the calendar turns from January to February, Groundhog Day is just around the corner. But for the Wine and Gold, they’ve been trapped in that repetitive, inescapable funk – game after game – since December 15.
The song remained the same on Monday night in Miami as the Heat took a 15-point lead after one period, watched Cleveland mount a mid-game comeback, and went on a big run to put the game out of reach in the closing quarter. When the smoke cleared, the Cavaliers had dropped their 21st consecutive contest – a 117-90 decision at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Cleveland made it interesting right before intermission – using an 8-2 run to cut a 19-point Miami lead to just nine heading into the locker room. Things got even closer to start the second half, and when Antawn Jamison canned a 20-footer, the Wine and Gold trailed by only three, 70-67.
But that’s as good as it would get for the reeling Cavaliers, who have now dropped 31 of their last 32 games. Former Cavaliers, LeBron James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas keyed a 19-5 run to end the third quarter, essentially putting the affair on ice.
“We did a better job of moving the ball, but when they got a little bit more aggressive, we got stubborn,” said Coach Scott. “We didn’t find the open guy, we took some bad shots and when we took bad shots, they were off to the races. Against a team like that, they’re going to make you pay for it.”
Four Cavalier starters finished in double-figures, led by Antawn Jamison – who doubled-up with 21 points and 10 boards. The 13th-year forward went 7-for-20 from the floor, adding two steals and an assist.
Manny Harris followed up with 20 points on 6-for-13 shooting, pitching in with five boards and a steal. J.J. Hickson notched 14 points and nine boards and Ramon Sessions rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 11 points and a team-high seven assists.
“We just need to come out with a chip on our shoulder,” said Harris, referring to the team’s slow starts. “We come out and – I don’t want to say ‘play lazy’ – but we match (the opponent) rather than picking it up and being more aggressive. So we just need to come out with more intensity and more effort.”
The Heat shot 49 percent to the Cavaliers’ 40 while topping them on the fast break and in points in the paint. Miami outrebounded Cleveland, 49-40, led by Ilgauskas, who finished with 14 boards, nine offensive.
The Cavaliers return to The Q on Wednesday night, welcoming the Pacers for an interdivisional battle.
2. Among Eastern Conference players, two Cavaliers have made some of the biggest leaps from December to January. J.J. Hickson averaged 8.1 ppg in December, improving to 13.3 the following month. Ramon Sessions went from averaging 8.6 ppg to 13.6.
3. The Cavaliers scored 37 points in the second period -- the most Miami has allowed in a quarter this year.
4. Not a Cavaliers stat, but a notable one nonetheless: Miami’s James Jones has made 102 field goals this season and not a single one was unassisted.
5. Including Monday’s effort, Antawn Jamison topped the 20-point plateau for the 11th time in January. During the month, Jamison averaged 21.3 ppg.
6. After going scoreless for just the second time all season on Sunday night in Orlando, J.J. Hickson bounced back with a strong performance on Monday in Miami. Over his last six games, J.J. is averaging 13.1 boards per contest.
7. Daniel Gibson was sidelined on Monday night after re-injuring his right quad. Overall, the Cavaliers have missed 92 player games due to injury and have used 18 different starting lineup combinations.
“I just want to be out there with my team during this time, trying to get things back on track,” said Boobie. “I feel like I could help, and that’s what hurts the most.”
8. Seated courtside for Monday’s matchup was hip-hop heavyweights, Sean “Puffy” Combs and Rick Ross.
9. Antawn Jamison’s double-double on Monday night was the 294th of his illustrious career.
10. In his last two games after being re-inserted into the starting lineup, Manny Harris has gone a combined 13-for-25 from the floor, averaging an even 20.0 points per contest.
Joe Gabriele is the official beat writer for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Cavs.com. You can follow Joe and send him your questions on Twitter at @CavsJoeG.