The Miami Heat looked like a team on a mission last night as they dismantled the Cleveland Cavaliers 122-101. In a game that was completely one-side, the Heat led by as many as 33 points and led wire-to-wire. There was a sense of urgency of the tough loss to Charlotte a few nights earlier, and Cleveland had no answer for it.
Wade, now a member of the 20,000 point, led the Heat with 24, including 14 in the 3rd quarter. Hassan Whiteside added yet another double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Goran Dragic contributed a double-double with 18 points and 11 assists while Joe Johnson continued his stellar play with 18 points and four three-pointers. Off the bench, Miami was led by Josh Richardson with 19 points and Whiteside’s double-double.
LeBron James was the only bright spot for Cleveland with 26 points.
Let’s see how Miami did in my keys to the game.
- Don’t just defend LeBron: James had to keep a constant eye on Joe Johnson, which kept him honest on defense for most of the night. That allowed plenty of room for driving lanes and allowed the Heat to make him work on both ends of the floor.
- Get back to your identity: Although they allowed Cleveland to score 101 points, 3 of them came in the fourth quarter when the game was already over. Miami did a great job of taking away Irving and Love and also forced the Cavs into 14 turnovers.
- Defend the three-point line: The Heat held the Cavs to ten threes, which is pretty good considering that they can drain them in bunches. Miami also did a good job of forcing a lot of long jumpers and contested shots in the lane. An overall good defensive performance from the Heat.
The next travel to New Orleans for a matchup with Anthony Davis and the Pelicans. Even though it against a Western foe, the Heat need to win this one.