The Heat started out strong on a 9-0 run thanks to early threes by Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson and Meyers Leonard. Miami’s ball movement was on display early on as the Heat knifed through the Cav’s defense. The Heat were also solid on defence forcing turnovers, and dominating the defensive glass.
Miami’s stellar play would get them out to a fifteen point lead with Goran, Jimmy, and Bam all contributing as they feasted in the paint. Cleveland had no answers, sending in their reserves to mixed results. Miami wouldn’t let up, heading into the second up 12.
Kevin Love and Kevin Porter Jr would get things going for the Cavs to start the second, slicing Miami’s lead down to seven almost immediately. Larry Nance Jr would continue Cleveland’s assault, and a mis-timed foul would see the Heat lead at only 5. Miami struggled to score to open the second, and that wouldn’t change until Duncan Robinson three around the 9:08 mark.
Kendrick Nunn would help get Miami back in front with his stellar offensive play. He’s done a great job taking advantage of increased playing time with Justise out. Tyler Herro also looked good, moving well on his hurt ankle and scoring on some great looks.
With Miami back in rhythm, they’d take things into the paint once again going up by 19 thanks to solid effort from Meyers Leonard, Bam and Jimmy. After starting the quarter off slow, the Heat surged to end the half, taking a 24 point lead off some great play by Nunn and Bam. This wasn’t much of a surprise with the Heat sharing the ball incredibly well (22 assists as a team) and shooting very well form the field (63%).
Miami started the third out of rhythm, but it was Kendrick Nunn once again getting them out of their slump. He looked great, scoring in many different ways. On the other end, Darius Garland would get things going a little bit more for the Cavs.
The Heat worked to keep themselves ahead, not stepping off the gas and scoring consistently thanks to a great effort by Meyers Leonard and Bam Adebayo. Tonight was another night that you might forget Jimmy was on the court because of his lack of offensive assertiveness (still he had 12), but he did a lot to set up his teammates and scored when necessary.
The Cavs weren’t ready to let up though, cutting the lead down to 15 thanks to Cedi Osman and Collin Sexton. Still, Miami stayed ahead heading into the fourth up 20.
It was Chris Silva who would get Miami started in the fourth with a big slam. Unfortunately, they’d struggle with turnovers allowing the Cavs to go on an 8-0 run. Goran Dragic stopped the bleeding slightly for Miami on a beautiful spin layup, but Kevin Love would hit two threes turning things into a 10 point lead and triggering blown lead flashbacks from last season.
Miami would flub a couple offensive plays leaving them in a vulnerable position. Cleveland really stepped up their defense in the fourth, frustrating all Heat scorers. With 6 minutes left and in the midst of a scoring drought, Goran Dragic would be the one to slow down momentum as he set up his teammates with beautiful assists.
Dragic looked to be feeling the “illness” that he was listed with earlier in the game, but he showed his leadership qualities when Miami needed them the most.
A few well timed Miami stops allowed the Heat to re-take control. They’d hang on to beat the Cavs in a great win, with a rollercoaster of an ending.