The Cleveland Cavaliers lost the Miami Heat on Saturday by a final score of 122-101. The game wasn't really that close and Miami had wrapped it all wrapped up by the midway point of the fourth quarter. The last eight or so minutes served as garbage time. Little-used Jordan McRae ended up playing 16 minutes and even Sasha Kaun played.
Losses like Saturday's are one of the reasons why this Cavs team is frustrating to watch and understand. Roster wise, the team isn't very different than last year's version and you could argue that it's better overall in terms of talent. And there isn't the excuse of 'they don't like David Blatt' to lean on anymore. This is the Cavs, in March when they should be peaking or getting close to doing so, losing a game to a good Heat team. And it wasn't ever close after the opening portion of the game. At one point, the Cavs trailed by 31 points. This outcome of this game was never really in doubt once Miami got rolling.
This loss is also magnified by how much better LeBron James played than every other Cavalier. There were moments where other Cavs were assertive and made plays, but LeBron was the only one who really looked aggressive and attacked from the get go. Everyone else seemed a little worn, a little bit off. That's understandable since the Cavs played a tough-ish game last night against the Magic, but not totally excusable. Other elite teams like the Spurs and Warriors don't lay eggs like this when all of their best players are playing, even on a back-to-back.
LeBron, who finished with 26 points on 13-20 shooting in just 27 minutes, really was the one Cavalier starter to play a good game. Kyrie Irving played okay - he finished with 14 points - but struggled on defense. Kevin Love, who started at center with Tyronn Lue opting to go small to match the Heat's small lineups, was non-factor. Tristan Thompson only pulled down two rebounds. The only role player to play well was Richard Jefferson, who scored 20 points on 7-10 shooting in a team-high 29 minutes.
That, in a way, explains these Cavs. Even though they lost badly, how good they've been for most of this season allowed them to further cement their playoff status anyway. Despite being frustrating, these Cavs are still good and in a position to succeed when the season really matters.