Post-Game Analysis: The Top Three Lessons Learned in the Heat’s Battle Against the Cavaliers

Here are three takeaways from the Miami Heat’s loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night at the Kaseya Center.

3 Heat takeaways from the loss vs. the Cavs

The Miami Heat fall to the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night, 111-99, as the home squad were without three starters in Bam Adebayo, Haywood Highsmith, and Tyler Herro. While it was a close game in the first half, the away team trailed away in the final 24 minutes of the game to seal the deal for the Cavs.

Cleveland gets their revenge and splits the season series at one a piece as the last time these two teams faced off, the Heat handled business on the road on Nov. 22, 129-96. It was an overall frustrating outing for Miami as they had an early 16-point lead in the second quarter, but quickly lost it and never found the winning side again in the game.

Besides exceptional performances from the likes of Cavs stars Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland who had 27 and 18 points respectively, Cleveland won the rebounding battle, 51-37 total.

In terms of the top performers for the Heat,  Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Kyle Lowry led the team with 17 points while Jimmy Butler had 16 points on the night. Here are three takeaways from Miami’s loss to the Cavaliers Friday night:

An up and down first half for the Heat

Miami Heat stars Josh Richardson, Jaime Jaquez Jr., and Jimmy Butler in front of the Kaseya Center.

The Heat took control of this game towards the middle and end portions of the first half and most of the second quarter. What helped Miami set their own pace was Mitchell struggling to get anything going and Darius Garland obtaining three early fouls in the first quarter.

Mixing those two elements with the fact that other crucial piece Evan Mobley was out for tonight’s game, Cleveland was undermanned. However, so was Miami, but it helps when Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is known for experimenting with different lineups as the chemistry does not waver like what happened in that time span.

Heat blows 16-point lead, loses to Cavaliers 111-99 – Hot Hot Hoops

Miami would go on to collect 11 points in a single minute at one point to build up a 16-point lead in the second quarter led by Josh Richardson who had 17 first half points.

However, the tides would change quickly as three minutes of game-time later, Cleveland would go on a 15-0 run to cut the deficit significantly. The Heat couldn’t buy a shot nor could the defense stifle the hot-hand of the Cavaliers, especially Mitchell and former Heat player Max Strus who combined for 14 in the second quarter.  While the opposing team had 17 points in the first quarter, they exploded in the second with 36 points.

By the end of the first half, the Cavs had a one-point lead. The Heat had to get back the pace they are comfortable with before the game gets out of hand as Cleveland’s offense can be potent when in a rhythm.

Cavs dominating the second half

It would be more of the same as the Cavaliers sustained their sizable lead for the most part. With the lead for the Cavs going up to 18 points, the Heat rarely had answers.

Cavs, Max Strus get revenge over Miami Heat in 111-99 win - cleveland.com

One of the simple reasons that it came down to was that shots were falling for Cleveland in the second half. For the Heat, not so much. Especially in the third quarter when the Cavs extended their lead, they shot 63.6 percent from the field compared to Miami who had a 28.6 percent field goal percentage. It led to a 35-point quarter for the foe compared to Miami who had their lowest scoring quarter with 23.

It was a frustrating time for the Heat as there were clearly moments where key players would make a nice play and try to start a run and build momentum, but the efforts were futile as Cleveland continued to pour it on. Mitchell would have 13 third quarter points as Garland had nine as he came back after the foul trouble early in the game.

Donovan Mitchell scores 27, Cavaliers use pair of 15-0 runs to top Heat, 111 -99 – News-Herald

The Heat would eventually cut down the Cavs lead to single-digits, but the ball went right into Mitchell’s hands to put the game out of reach and got the job done on a lay-up matched up to Butler.

Rebounding domination not in Miami’s favor and the schedule ahead

While Spoelstra has been confident in the front-court depth, the absence of Heat star Bam Adebayo is always going to be a blow as he brings elite defense, soaring offense, and probably the most underrated aspect, his impeccable rebounding.

It was very much evident that Adebayo was missed as mentioned before, Miami lost the rebounding battle 51-37. In the beginning, it seemed like the Heat would be fine in that category as Kevin Love had six early rebounds in the first quarter. While he would finish the game with 12 rebounds, it was spread out throughout the rest of the game.

Shorthanded Miami Heat fall at home to Cleveland Cavaliers

It led to 14 second chance points for the Cavs, but it hurt more when the Cavs would miss a shot that could lead to a Heat run, but  Cleveland would find a way to get the rebound. Besides looking at the stat-sheet, the eye-test would tell you that the Cavs had a longer possession of the ball because of the amount of rebounds they got.

Mixing the rebounding margin with the 18 turnovers Miami had, it’s not a recipe for success, especially with a Cavs team that can be dangerous. At the end of the day, Miami is now 12-10 on the season as their next chance to bounce back is Dec. 11 as they travel to Charlotte to take on the Hornets.

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