The Heat started off strong with Tyler Johnson immediately finding twine. However, the Cavs returned fire off some LeBron bully ball in the post. Not long after, Jordan Mickey would clip Kevin Love on a drive attempt (literally drawing first blood). He’d bleed from the mouth and have to go to the locker room (he’d return to the bench at the end of the quarter).
Miami looked strong on defense, withstanding multiple LeBron attempts early on and causing turnovers.
James Johnson picked up where he left off last game, as he continued to be aggressive and utilize his improved first step as he drove to the rim for quite a few buckets.
On another note the Player’s Only broadcast continued to be awful. It’s tough listening to people broadcast Heat games when they don’t watch any other Heat games. To have Justise referred to as “Justin” throughout the first by McHale and the color commentary be about his poor shooting is just terrible. All the information you need is literally in the game notes. I miss Eric and Tony…but I digress…
Miami continued to score well thanks great attempts by Tyler Johnson, but Cleveland wasn’t far behind.
Miami’s reserves looked great with Wade wreaking havoc on defense and offense and Wayne Ellington continuing to flaunt his golden arm on two threes to spark an 8-0 run. The Heat would head into the second quarter up eleven.
Kelly would get the Heat rolling with a trey to start the second quarter. He’d follow that up on the following possession with an And-One (but miss the free throw) continuing a 15-2 run for the Heat. He’d also slam home a dunk not long after. The first three minutes clearly belonged to Kelly and the Heat.
Miami’s offense looked sharp as they moved the ball well and took solid looks. Wade worked well as a facilitator nearly getting the whole lineup involved. He also took some good looks for himself extending the Heat’s run to 23 points.
The Heat defense was also great as they forced Cleveland into taking poor shots. There were even a few highlight plays, most notably Wade’s rejection on LeBron.
As for the Cavs, LeBron had his moments, but they were largely lifeless for the entire quarter.
The Heat just looked hungrier than the Cavs as they out hustled them for every loose ball. Justise was fantastic on the defensive end, Goran was a magician with his passes, Kelly brought a scoring punch and James Johnson acted as closer. The Heat were impressive in the first half and they’d take a twenty point lead into halftime.
The third quarter began with an announcement that after returning at the end of the first, Kevin Love would leave the ball game entirely.
Jordan Mickey delivered a slam to start things off on offense for Miami and the Heat would continue to deliver off plays by Dragic and Josh Richardson.
The Heat did the little things right, like Josh grabbing his own rebound and then slamming the rock. The Heat are gritty, but plays like that surprise teams.
Cleveland would show some signs of life near the end of the quarter (.ie LeBron oop, wow) and get Miami’s lead down to about 16. Miami would also enter one of their signature scoring droughts, but it would be broken up by Dragic off a nice three.
Still, the Heat would change up their lineup in an effort to close the quarter with some energy.
Cleveland would come out aggressive on defense in the fourth forcing Miami to miss some shots and cause the Heat to again enter a mini scoring drought. On the other end, the Cavs worked to chip away at the lead, but did most of their damage from the free thrown line.
It was Kelly Olynyk who’d once again provide a scoring punch to get the Heat out of their drought. Still, his missed attempts at the free throw line were noticeable tonight, hopefully he improves those for the postseason (but otherwise he was fantastic!)
Cleveland would get the lead down to eleven, but Wade would spark a small offensive run for the Heat that Kelly and Goran would continue. Despite falling out of rhythm early, Miami found their footing again in the final three minutes.
The Heat also continued to play the Cavs aggressively on defense down the strethc, causing turnovers and just being disruptive (Wade also blocked LeBron’s shot again!). It was great to see, still Miami needs to watch the late game fouls moving forward.
The Heat went out there and completely dismantled a surging Cavs team, it was incredible to watch. I’m so ready for playoffs.