Cavs Fall Short in South Beach
The Wine and Gold were without the services of Anthony Parker, Tristan Thompson and Daniel Gibson. Mychel Thompson, who started the previous three games for Cleveland at the 2-guard, was released on Monday.
Still, the Cavaliers were within a half-dozen, 78-72, heading into the fourth quarter – facing their second 2011 Finals team in as many days.
But the final period proved to be the Cavaliers’ undoing, as they shot just 26 percent from the floor. Cleveland’s bench, which came into the game as one of the league’s best, combined for just 4-for-23 shooting.
Antawn Jamison netted 20 of his team-high 25 points in the first half, going 11-for-22 from the floor and adding nine boards and a pair of steals.
Alonzo Gee, who got the start at shooting guard, came up with another solid effort – following up with 17 points. His three-pointer with 2:41 to play got the Cavaliers to within seven, 96-87, but they would get no closer.
Kyrie Irving added 16 points and six assists, going 2-for-3 from long-distance.
"We were in the game for the most of the game going into the fourth quarter," said Irving. "I felt that we could make the run, we just weren’t hitting shots. It happens."
Anderson Varejao doubled-up for the 13th time this season with 11 points and 11 boards.
The high-octane Heat only outscored the Cavs by a point on the break and had a slight edge on the boards. But their Big Three combined for 65 points and they got 14 more from Udonis Haslem off the bench.
"You have to give them a lot of credit; they are a very good basketball team," said Coach Scott. "As young as we are right now, you need those guys healthy for us to compete. Energy wise, I thought we played hard, and that is all you can ask."
The Cavaliers return to The Q for a Tuesday night matchup against Blake Griffin and the Clippers.