Cavs Come Up Short in South Beach

Samardo Samuels came off Cleveland's bench to notch 15 points.
Isaac Baldizon
NBAE.Getty Images
After a lost weekend, Coach Byron Scott wanted to see tough defense and maximum effort on Tuesday night in Miami. He got both.

Unfortunately, some of the same problems – namely the turnover issue – came to plague the Cavaliers again at American Airlines Arena, as they dropped their fourth straight, 92-85.

Chris Bosh scored 17 of his season-high 35 points in the fourth quarter, and Miami needed every one of them. The Cavaliers, who’d been TKO’d early in their previous two games, came out slugging on South Beach, keeping the heavyweight Heat on the ropes all night.

The Cavaliers were led by Kyrie Irving, who got it going late with 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting. He finished with four boards, four assists and three turnovers. He wasn’t alone in that last dubious department. Every starter besides Antawn Jamison committed at least three miscues.

"We kind of beat ourselves tonight," admitted Irving. "We had 22 turnovers and lost by seven points, so that is the difference-maker in turnovers. We have to limit that."

The rookie guard added: "Tonight we can hold our heads up because we gave a hard fought effort against a good Miami team."

Samardo Samuels had his best all-around game of the young season, following up with 15 points off the bench. He began the game hitting his first five shots from the floor. The second-year forward finished with five boards, two assists and a blocked shot.

Overall, the Cavs bench was very impressive – tallying 43 points as a group.

Aside from Samuels, Ramon Sessions finished with 10 points, Boobie Gibson added eight – nailing a pair of treys – and Alonzo Gee pitched in on both ends, netting seven points and helping to hold LeBron James to 8-for-21 shooting.

"That’s a match-up nightmare for a lot of guys," praised Coach Byron Scott. "I thought Alonzo’s athleticism and quickness was something he (James) had to deal with as well. I thought both those guys competed and played extremely well."

The Cavaliers committed 22 turnovers on the night, but just two in the fourth quarter. There were still plenty of positives in the loss. They held the Heat to just 37 points in the first half and allowed just four fastbreak points. Cleveland outrebounded the Heat and outscored them in the paint, 44-30.

The Wine and Gold return home for the second half of their back-to-back against Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Soutdemimre and the Knicks at The Q.

  • Samardo Samuels got the most floor time since 2011 and took advantage of it. He went 5-for-5 from the field in the first half, and he didn’t use much of it, scoring everything on dunks and layups. He finished 7-for-10 from the floor and the Cavs were +10 with him in the lineup.

  • Anderson Varejao led both teams with 11 boards, getting back to double-digit rebounds after having his streak of eight straight snapped on Friday night. On the season, the Wild Thing is grabbing 26 percent of all Cavaliers rebounds.

  • The Heat are now 7-1 without Dwyane Wade.

  • Kyrie Irving usually does his damage early – he leads the NBA in first-quarter field goal shooting, going .623 from the floor. (The NBA average is .448.) On Tuesday night, he came on late, scoring seven of his 17 in the fourth period.

  • Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who was hired last week as a Special Assistant to the General Manager with his former club, took in the game on Tuesday night at American Airlines Arena.

  • Tristan Thompson missed Tuesday night’s affair, still nursing a twisted left ankle from Saturday night’s loss in Atlanta. He’s questionable for Wednesday night’s game against New York at The Q.