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The Cavaliers were looking to build some momentum, coming home off a successful three-game trip. The Heat had other plans.
Miami jumped out to a big early lead and barely looked back – handing the Wine & Gold their most lopsided loss of the season, a 108-97 decision on Thursday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The Cavaliers struggled to shoot from beyond the arc – going 8-for-32 on the night – and had just as much trouble defending it – with the Heat shooting 40 percent (12-of-30) from long-distance.
For the second straight game, the Cavs had exactly as many turnovers as assists (18) as they struggled to find the same rhythm they’d had on a recent roadie that saw them take two of three.
Kevin Love led the way for Cleveland, finishing with 21 points on 6-of-16 shooting, including 3-of-8 from deep and 6-of-6 from the stripe, adding 10 boards for his seventh double-double of the young campaign.
Collin Sexton followed up with 15 points, going 7-for-16 from the floor to go with four boards, three assists and a steal.
Larry Nance Jr. added 14 points and eight boards off the bench, but seemed to injure his left thumb on a fourth-quarter dunk. Jordan Clarkson added 10 points in 27 minutes of work off the bench, adding three boards and a pair of helpers.
Cedi Osman pitched in with 12 points and seven boards and Darius Garland got back into double-figures, finishing with 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting, adding a pair of assists and a steal.
Overall, six Cavaliers notched double-figures, but the engine that’s driven them all season – Tristan Thompson – wasn’t one of them, struggling with just two points and three boards in 23 minutes of work.
Miami’s Kendrick Nunn led all scorers with 23 points, going 10-of-16 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from deep. Bam Adebayo finished with 16 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
Collin Sexton toughs it out in the paint as he earns the extra shot after knocking down the bucket in the first quarter.
This one got away from the Wine & Gold early. Miami outscored Cleveland by the same exact score in each of the first two quarters – 34-22 – taking a dozen point lead after one period and by 24 at intermission.
The Cavaliers tried to make a run in the third – cutting Miami’s edge to 15 points with three minutes to go in the period – but the Heat answered with an 11-6 run to end the quarter.
In the fourth, the Cavs got to within 10, but couldn’t get the deficit under double-digits the rest of the way.
10, 102 … times this season that Jordan Clarkson has scored in double-figures off the bench, averaging 15.2 ppg – good for 6th in the NBA – and amount of games, in the 120 he’s played as a Cavalier, that he’s tallied double-figures.
Clarkson has two 20-point outings off the bench this season – the third-most in that role since entering the league in 2014 behind only Lou Williams (134) and Jamal Crawford (60).
Coach John Beilein, on Thursday night's matchup against the Heat …
"(Miami) has a good system. They play well together. And that was a complete mismatch in ball-movement and defense. In the second half, we were able to make some positive strides in the right direction, but way too much to overcome."
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and 97.7 La Mega's Rafa Hernandez-Brito.
The Cavaliers close out their brief two-game homestand on Sunday afternoon (3 p.m. ET) with a rematch against Joel Embiid and the Sixers – who edged the Wine & Gold last Tuesday night in Philadelphia.
From there, it’s another three-game trip – beginning with the second-half of a back-to-back on Monday night in New York, followed by a stop in Miami on Wednesday night before wrapping up the following Friday against Luke Doncic and the Mavericks in Dallas.