Cavs Fall Short in South Beach

by Joe Gabriele Managing Editor
Kyrie Irving finished with 16 points and six assists in Monday's loss in Miami.
Mike Ehrmann
NBAE.Getty Images

Unlike some fourth-quarter comebacks from the past couple weeks, on Tuesday night in Miami the short-handed Cavaliers were within striking distance for three quarters but cooled off down the stretch and fell to the Heat, 107-91.

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.

  • The Cavaliers were still without the services of Tristan Thompson (left ankle sprain), Anthony Parker (strained low back) and Daniel Gibson (soft tissue infection in his neck). Gibson practiced with the team on Monday, but like his two injured teammates didn’t travel to Miami.

  • With the ailing backcourt, Christian Eyenga got easily his longest run of the season on Tuesday – almost 21 minutes off the bench. The former first-rounder didn’t crack the scoring column in four attempts, but did have four boards, a steal and massive blocked shot on a Norris Cole offering in the second quarter.

  • Every starter besides Omri Casspi had at least two steals for the Cavs on Tuesday night. Alonzo Gee is averaging 2.4 thefts per contest over his last five.

  • Kyrie Irving finished the night averaging 18.0 points and 5.0 assists per contest. Of the 10 previous rookies to average those numbers for a season, only Magic Johnson in 1979-80 didn’t win the Rookie of the Year Award, and he lost to Larry Bird.

  • Wednesday’s contest against the Clippers at The Q marks the start of a nine-game homestand, the longest of the season. The Cavaliers don’t hit the road again until February 29 – after the All-Star Break.