Heat Hold Off Cavaliers
Wrap-Up – Aside from a cool-shooting second quarter, the Wine and Gold went toe-to-toe with the World Champs all night on Thanksgiving Eve. But some costly missed free throws in the final period gave Miami all the breathing room they’d need to hand the Cavaliers their fourth straight loss, a 95-84 decision on Wednesday night at The Q.
Dion Waiters came off the bench to lead Cleveland with 24 points on 7-for-14 shooting. Kyrie Irving followed up with 16 points, three boards, three assists and a steal. Earl Clark stayed hot from the floor, following up with 13 points – going 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Anderson Varejao rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 10 points and Tristan Thompson led all rebounders with 11 boards.
The Cavaliers shot just 35 percent from the floor and 67 percent from the stripe – including just 57 percent in the fourth quarter. The Cavs committed 19 turnovers and although their bench outscored Miami’s reserves, 58-32, Heat forward LeBron James outscored all five of Cleveland’s starters by two, 28-26, in the loss.
Turning Point – LeBron scored the first eight points of the third quarter, but the undaunted Cavaliers refused to wilt. Instead it was Chris Bosh, Rashard Lewis and Michael Beasley who keyed the mid-third quarter 10-3 run that put Miami up two touchdowns with under two minutes to play in the period. Varejao and Waiters hit bucket s to end the quarter, but Miami still closed it with a double-digit edge.
Game Ball – Dion Waiters – Waiters ignored the noise on Wednesday night, taking the fight to the Heat throughout the evening. The second-year guard went 4-for-8 from beyond the arc and netted 11 of his team-high 24 points in the fourth quarter. Waiters added six boards and three assists in 33 minutes of action.
By the Numbers – .609 … Earl Clark’s shooting percentage from long-distance over his past six contests, going 14-for-23 in that span.
Quotable – Dion Waiters, on his night against Miami (and the remainder of his Thanksgiving Eve) …
”I just have to continue to be aggressive, continue to keep attacking. More importantly, when I get to the line, I have to make my foul shots. They call that free money. You have to take that free money. It’s frustrating. I have to hear that all night tonight from my mom. I can’t even enjoy my Thanksgiving tonight.”
Up Next – After a pair of tough contests against the respective Conference champs, the Cavaliers get Thanksgiving off, but will travel to Boston later that night. On Friday, they take on the new-look Celtics at the TD Garden before returning home for a Central Division matchup with the Bulls on Saturday night at The Q.