Miami Heat Destroy Cleveland Cavaliers, Continue Fight For East's Top Spot

After beating the Orlando Magic Friday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers fell to the Miami Heat, 122-101, finishing off their Florida back-to-back road trip at a split 1-1. This game drops the Cavaliers to a 49-20 record, while it gives Miami win number 40 on the season. 

Saturday's result marks the third and final meeting between these two teams this season. Miami has won the season series against the Cavaliers at two games to one. 

Hot Shooting For Miami

The Cavaliers struggled to keep up with the Miami throughout the majority of the first half of Saturday’s game. With the help of Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic, and the newly acquired Joe Johnson, Miami captured a double-digit lead in the first quarter, which the Heat ended with a 31 to 19 lead over Cleveland.

This lead carried into the second quarter, as Miami outscored the Cavaliers 34 to 25 in the second, giving them a 65 to 44 advantage going into the half. The Heat took advantage of the Cavaliers foul trouble, as they had 12 in the first half. Both Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson had to sit after receiving three personal fouls each, leaving Cleveland’s front line very much depleted. 

Cleveland, who shot 51 percent from the field, did not have trouble putting the ball in the basket. LeBron James scored 18 first half points on nine for 14 shooting and Kyrie Irving added 11 points off of five for seven shooting. Miami, however, shot a scorching 61.5 percent from the field, which included making seven of their nine three-point attempts. Wade and Johnson each had 10 points and Dragic led the team with 14. Rookie Josh Richardson added 12 points off the bench for the hot-shooting Heat.

The second half was no better for the Cavaliers, as the Heat maintained a nearly 30-point lead for much of the third quarter. Cleveland continued struggle in stopping Miami’s scoring onslaught, and could not narrow the gap within 20 points throughout the second half. 

Dwyane Wade crossed 20,000 career points in Saturday's win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Lynne Sladky/AP Photo)
Dwyane Wade crossed 20,000 career points in Saturday's win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. | Photo: Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Key Players

The Cavaliers did have four players score more than 10 points in one of their worst losses of the season. James led the team with 26 points in 26 minutes, shooting a consistent 13 for 20 from the field. Irving, who had a strong showing in the first half, struggled in the second half and only ended the game with 14 points. Richard Jefferson put a strong performance together for Cleveland off the bench, scoring 20 points. Matthew Dellavedova, who also came off of the bench, added 10.

Miami topped Cleveland and saw five players score in double-digits. Wade led the team 24 points and crossed 20,000 career points in Miami’s outstanding win. Johnson and Dragic each scored 18 points in 30 minutes of play, and Dragic also had 11 assists. Richardson continued his hot shooting first half, scoring 19 points off 6-9 shooting, including 4-6 from three-point range. Hassan Whiteside had a double-double off of the bench, with 16 points and 13 rebounds. 

The Cavaliers will go back home to face the Denver Nuggets on Monday, while the Heat will travel for a Tuesday night matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans