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On a night in which Miami retired Dwayne Wade’s jersey, the Heat started the first quarter by hitting their first nine shot attempts and ended the second quarter – and into Wade’s ceremony – up 30.
Things played out essentially the same way in the second stanza, as the Heat’s utter mastery of the Wine & Gold on South Beach continued with the lopsided 124-109 decision on Saturday night at American Airlines Arena.
Miami has now won 18 straight against Cleveland on its home floor – a streak that extends back to January 25, 2010.
Despite the Heat’s white-hot start to the game, the Cavaliers – in the second game of J.B. Bickerstaff’s tenure as head coach – were almost as torrid, hitting eight of their first 10 attempts. But Miami scored 44 points in the second period – after netting 38 in the first – and led by as many as 31 points before intermission.
The good news for the Cavs is twofold: One, they get a quick opportunity for revenge when they welcome the Heat to Cleveland on Monday night, and two, they don’t have to come back to Miami again this season.
Cedi Osman had his second straight solid outing – finishing with 19 points on 6-of-15 shooting, adding seven boards and seven assists.
The Cavaliers finished with 29 assists on Saturday night, with Collin Sexton handing out a season-high nine of them, adding 17 points on 5-of-15 shooting.
Darius Garland pitched in with 14 points, five assists and a pair of steals and Larry Nance Jr. – starting in place of Kevin Love, sidelined with a sore Achilles – added 10 points, seven boards and two steals.
Tristan Thompson had yet another solid showing with the second unit – finishing with 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting, adding seven boards in 26 minutes off the bench. Dante Exum was also good again off the bench – chipping in with 14 points on 3-of-5 shooting from deep, adding eight boards and a blocked shot.
Seven Heat players – none named “Jimmy Butler” – finished in double-figures, led by rookie Kendrick Nunn, who finished with 24 points, eight assists and a pair of steals. Four Miami players had at least four assists and the Heat overall handed out 34 helpers on 45 made shots.
Collin Sexton fires a nifty bounce-pass to Cedi Osman in transition who finishes with a reverse lay-up.
Despite the Heat scoring 38 points in the first quarter, the Cavs trailed by only six after one quarter. But Miami caught fire in the second quarter and proceeded to shoot an eye-popping 88 percent, going 15-of-17 from the floor in the period.
The Heat scored 44 points in the second quarter and just 42 points over the final two quarters. But it was enough to give Miami the third win over Cleveland this season and snap its overall win streak at two.
17.7, 9.7, .676, .800 … Tristan Thompson’s scoring and rebounding averages – as well as his field goal percentage (23-of-34) and three-point percentage (4-of-5) over his last three games.
Coach J.B. Bickerstaff, on his team cutting Miami’s 30-point to 15 in the fourth quarter …
”You talk about the character of our guys, the character of the group, and it was guys that made the decision to not lay down. As long as we continue to fight, we’ll get better.”
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and 87.7 La Mega's Rafa Hernandez-Brito.
The Cavaliers will hope to prevent the four-game sweep against Miami on Monday night, when they return home for the series finale.
The Wine & Gold then welcome Joel Embiid and the Sixers on Wednesday night, part of a stretch of seven of eight games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The only road game in that octet is a visit to the Big Easy for a meeting against Zion Williamson and the Pelicans on Friday night.