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There are no moral victories in the NBA, but the shorthanded Cavaliers can at least take solace that they were outstanding offensively against one of the league’s stingiest squads.
The Wine and Gold shot 50 percent from the floor and 50 percent from long-range – drilling 20 triples on the night – but the Heat were even better on that end and pulled away in the second half to seal the season sweep, taking the 124-107 decision on Saturday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The Cavs trailed by eight at the break and cut Miami’s edge to six early in the third, but the Heat methodically began pulling away – taking a double-digit lead into the fourth quarter and cruising to the finish line from there.
One night after not attempting a shot from the floor, Kevin Love notched a game-high-tying and season-high 25 points, going 9-for-14 from the floor, including 7-of-10 from long-range, adding six boards and three assists.
Collin Sexton also tallied 25 points in the loss on 8-of-20 shooting, including 4-of-6 from deep, adding eight assists, a pair of steals and a block.
Dean Wade came off Cleveland’s bench to finish with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc.
Cedi Osman got the start with Darius Garland out with a left ankle sprain suffered on Friday night against Washington and once again responded well – chipping in with 15 points and a game-high 11 assists in the loss.
Isaac Okoro rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures – his fifth straight game of doing so – finishing with 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting.
Jarrett Allen was the only Cavaliers starter to miss double-figure scoring, but he did manage to led both squads with 14 boards, adding six points, a pair of assists and a block.
As good as the Cavs were offensively, the Heat were even slightly more effective – shooting 54 percent from the floor and, like Cleveland, an even 50 percent from long-distance.
But Miami was able to limit its mistakes – committing eight turnovers that led to just two Cavalier points while the Wine and Gold committed 19 miscues that the Heat converted to 24 points.
Kendrick Nunn led Miami with 22 points, going 9-for-14 from the floor, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. Duncan Robinson added 20 points in the win, going 6-for-8 from deep.
Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.
Kevin Love goes 7-10 from behind the arc, and 9-14 overall as he dropped 25 points against the Heat.
Saturday’s loss was more a case of death by a thousand cuts than a single watershed moment, but a brief moment early in the third quarter certainly shifted the tide.
After Collin Sexton’s second free throw got Cleveland to within a half-dozen just after intermission, Miami capitalized on back-to-back turnovers by Cedi Osman to take their second double-digit lead of the night.
During that stretch and in the immediate minutes after, Duncan Robinson drilled three of his six triples – helping the Heat balloon their edge to 18 points with just over seven minutes to play in the period. The Cavs wouldn’t get within single-digits again.
By the Numbers - 14.6 … points per game that Cedi Osman is averaging over his past five outings – notching double-figure scoring in four of them.
Over that span, the sixth-year man is shooting 43 percent from the floor, averaging 5.0 assists per and has drilled all 13 free throw attempts.
”(Miami’s) defense makes you make that one more pass; that’s how you’re going to be successful against them. They thrive off turnovers and try to get out in transition. I just stood in the corner and guys made amazing passes, easy passes, and once you get the ball it’s hard for them to close out all the way across the court and it’s hard for the defense to stay in front of you.”
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 89.1.
With Saturday’s lopsided defeat to the Heat, the Cavaliers five-game homestand rolls on with the Wine and Gold still searching for their first win – and a pair of tough Western Conference foes on tap to close it out next week.
On Tuesday night, it’s a visit from Chris Paul, Devin Booker and the Suns followed by a matchup against Damian Lillard and the Blazers on Wednesday to wrap up the five-gamer.
Next Friday night, the Cavs travel to Dallas for a meeting with Luka Doncic and the Mavericks, who come to Cleveland the following Monday to tip off a three-game homestand – the Wine and Gold’s final games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse this season.