I never expected to win this game. So when the Cavaliers climbed out of a 19-point hole and took the lead in the fourth quarter, I was pleasantly surprised. Of course, it wasn't enough down the stretch. The Heat eventually started passing the ball again and they pulled away with a 114-107 win.
Mike Brown didn't have a fun night. The Cavaliers' defense was inept in the first half and the Heat's three best players combined to outscore the Cavs 53-52. The Cavs entered the break down by 16, having allowed 68 points. It wasn't good. Mike Brown disagreed with some of the foul calls throughout the first half and finally had enough. He yelled at the refs and got tossed from the game. Personally, I thought that all of the calls were perfect throughout the night.
The Cavs were down by 19 at one point and could have rolled over and died. But they didn't. Instead, they kept fighting and clawed their way back into the game. I hate moral victories as much as anybody else, but it was very encouraging to see the team play hard for 48 minutes.
Dion Waiters once again came to life in the second half. Nobody on the Heat could stay in front of him and he got to the rim at will. This was more of what we want to see from Dion on a nightly basis. It seems like he might be starting to figure it out. If so, that'd be awesome.
The defense got better for the Cavs in the second half when they made their run to close the gap....but it still wasn't good. Overall, the Heat shot 55.3% from the floor and scored 114 points. I guarantee that Mike Brown is not going to be happy with those numbers (because they are terrible). But the Cavs were on the 2nd night of a back to back and the Heat were very well rested. It's a schedule loss, regardless of how good the Heat are. All things considered, it was a pretty good effort for the Cavs.
I might have more thoughts on this game later, but I also have lots of final papers to write. So we'll see. The Cavs have a few days off and then host a very very good Portland Trail Blazers team on Tuesday. That will be a great test to see how far the Cavs have come.
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