MIAMI, FL--- The Cavaliers stepped up in the absence of Darius Garland who missed Friday night's game with a quad contusion, but couldn't get the job done as the Heat would make a 4th quarter comeback and hold the Cavs to a 119-115 loss in game #69 of the year. Coming into Friday night's game the Cavs were 10-0 with Garland out of the lineup, but the streak has come to an end.
The first quarter was a repeat of Wednesday night's matchup between these 2 with back and forth action, multiple ties and small leads for each team. Donovan Mitchell and the Cavs were hot from 3pt range in the first quarter and throughout the first half. Mitchell would end up finishing the game with 42 points, his 9th game of 40+ points, just 2 away from tying Kyrie Irving for 2nd most in franchise history. The 3 pointer was prominent for both teams, especially for Miami as they rallied their 4th quarter comeback exclusively from the 3 ball.
The 3rd quarter would see the largest lead of the game, the Cavs went on a nice run that was capped off with a Rickey Rubio 3 pointer that made the score 81-67, but the Heat had some 3 pointers ready to fire. Miami routed their comeback with around 7 minutes to go in the game, and it was almost exclusively from the 3 ball from players like Tyler Herro and Max Strus. The Heat shot 48% from behind the arc on the game, next to the Cavs 42%. Herro finished the game with 25 points shooting 71% from behind the arc. Strus would finish with 14 points, making 4 of his 7 3 pointers attempted. Jimmy Butler would put the nails in the coffin from mid-rage and from the charity stripe with 4 seconds left in the game. Butler was fouled after Mitchell intentionally missed his 2nd free throw in an attempt for Brooke Lopez to tip it out to get a shot up. Butler would also hit a jumper off a screen over great defense played by Lamar Stevens who stepped up big time Friday night not only on the stat sheet, but making hustle play after hustle play and playing great defense. Jimmy Butler would finish with 33 points on the night.
The Cavs played very good team basketball on the night, standout performances came from Caris LaVert, who started in place of Garland, Isaac Okoro, and Spida Mitchell. LaVert finished the game with 16 points. Okoro would finish with 16 as well, making all 3 of his free throws, and shoot 67% from the field. Mitchell finished with 42 points while shooting 53% from behind the arc.
The Cavs will travel to Charlotte to play the Hornets Sunday afternoon at 4:00 and then again on Tuesday at 6:00 pm, as always you can hear the game on WTAM 1100 AM, 106.9 FM, the free iHeartRadio app, or HERE