Cavs Fall to Miami
David Liam Kyle
For all the fanfare and fury surrounding LeBron James’ return to Cleveland, it boiled down to Miami dominating the Cavaliers in the opening moments – running out to a 20-2 lead to start and extending their edge to 35-14 after one quarter. The Cavs were only outscored by a combined three points the rest of the way, but by then the damage was done – with the Eastern Conference Champs handing the Wine and Gold a 111-87 loss at The Q.
“Very simple – we just looked like we were scared to death, plain and simple,” said a visibly disappointed Byron Scott. “I thought they came out with great energy and great effort. We didn’t match it whatsoever, on both ends of the floor.”
The sold-out arena only got to boo James for three quarters, as Heat coach Eric Spoelstra yanked LeBron and most of Miami’s starters in the fourth quarter and Miami up by a comfortable margin. Cleveland trailed by as many as 35 and never got closer than 17 after the first period.
James and Dwyane Wade combined for 50 of Miami’s 111 points, with LeBron scoring 16 of his game-high 28 points in the third quarter.
Kyrie Irving led four Cavaliers in double-figures with 17 points on 5-of-15 shooting. This past June’s top pick added four boards, three assists, a pair of steals and a blocked shot before getting the fourth quarter off as well.
“When you don’t give that much resistance in a game like this, it’s tough,” said Irving. “In Miami we started off really well and we had a competitiveness, but tonight they hit first and we just couldn’t recoup.”
Irving’s backup, Ramon Sessions, followed up with 15 points to go with a game-high five helpers. Antawn Jamison finished with 13 points and Tristan Thompson pitched in with 12 points and a team-high six boards off the bench.
As a team, the Cavaliers shot under 40 percent from the field, allowing the Heat to shoot 51. Cleveland committed just 11 turnovers, but also tallied just 16 assists. The Heat outrebounded the Wine and Gold, but the Cavs held advantages in points in the paint, on the fastbreak as well as attempting 11 more free throws than Miami.
The Cavaliers homestand continues on Sunday when J.J. Hickson and the Sacramento Kings roll into The Q to tip off the final three games before the All-Star Break.