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Heat stumble to the finish in 111-99 loss to Cavaliers

Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel on

Published in Basketball

MIAMI — Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Haywood Highsmith again were out. This time, it also was as if Jimmy Butler wasn’t there.

For the Miami Heat, even after an early 16-point lead Friday night at Kaseya Center, that was too much to overcome.

So no traction after Wednesday night’s road victory over the Toronto Raptors. Instead, a 111-99 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers that dropped the record to 12-10.

While the Heat again had to deal with a reworked rotation, it wasn’t as if the Cavaliers were whole, with Cleveland lacking forward Evan Mobley due to knee soreness.

In a game that turned sloppy and choppy for the Heat after a solid start, Butler never found a rhythm, closing 5 of 15 from the field, with 16 points.

Josh Richardson compensated early, with all 17 of his points coming in the first half. The Heat also got 17 points from Kyle Lowry, 14 points from Jaime Jaquez Jr., and 14 points and a season-high 12 rebounds from Kevin Love, but it wasn’t enough to offset the 26 points Cleveland got from Donovan Mitchell and the 18 from Darius Garland.

 

Five Degrees of Heat from Friday night’s game:

— 1. Game flow: The Heat had a 15-0 first-quarter run and went into the second period up 25-17, after Cleveland’s lowest-scoring quarter of the season. Cleveland then put together a 15-0 run of their own in the second period, to take a 53-52 lead into halftime.

From there, Cleveland opened the third quarter on a 13-0 run, including 11 points by Mitchell, to eventually go up 16, before taking an 88-75 lead into the fourth.

The Cavaliers would go up 18 early in the fourth, before a Love 3-pointer drew the Heat within 98-88 with 6:37 to play. But that also is what the rally stalled.

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