Cavs Can't Complete Comeback

February 24, 2013
by Joe Gabriele Managing Editor

Wrap-Up – The young Cavaliers are still learning how to close out games, but they’re not there yet. And the defending NBA Champions (once again) gave them painful lesson on how it’s done – erasing an eight-point fourth-quarter lead after the Wine and Gold’s valiant comeback attempt and handing them the tough 109-105 loss on Sunday night in Miami.

The Cavaliers trailed by 20 points in the first half and 22 in the third quarter, but behind a furious rally – led by C.J. Miles’ three straight three-pointers – they closed the third period on a 22-4 run to take a one-point lead headed to the fourth. Miles’ fifth three-pointer of the night with 5:18 to play put the Cavs’ up eight. But Dwyane Wade keyed an 11-2 run and Shane Battier’s corner three-pointer gave Miami a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Dion Waiters scored eight of his team-high 26 points in the fourth quarter, going 4-for-5 in the period and 11-for-17 on the night. Miles notched 11 of his 19 points in the third quarter and Kyrie Irving followed up with 17. Marreese Speights and Tristan Thompson added 11 points apiece, with Thompson leading both clubs with a dozen boards.

Turning Point – Sunday’s contest had several turning points: the Heat closing the first half on a 12-2 run, the Cavaliers closing the third on a 15-2 run and the Heat ending the game on a 20-5 run –that final stretch costing Cleveland the ballgame.

Game BallC.J. Miles – The Heat were running away with the ballgame midway through the third when Miles caught fire – canning three straight three-pointers, including an extremely rare five-point play with under a minute to play in the third when he drilled a trey was fouled and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra getting whistled for a technical foul. Miles finished 5-of-9 from three point range, 6-for-11 overall.

By the Numbers37.6 … combined scoring average of Kyrie Irving (23.5) and Dion Waiters (14.1) – fifth-most by a teammate duo, 21-and-under, all-time. The top four are Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook (2008-09 & 2009-10), Tracy McGrady & Mike Miller (2000-01) and Antoine Walker & Ron Mercer (1997-98).

QuotableDion Waiters, on the second half of Sunday’s tough loss …

“We knew they were going to let us back in the game. We knew that. We came out aggressive. We made shots. We got stops when we needed them and we got back in the game. We executed. We've got to do a better job of finishing out games.”

Up Next – The Cavaliers get a day off before playing another back-to-back set – first on Tuesday with a battle against the Bulls and returning home for a Wednesday night contest against the Raptors at The Q.