It was never a pretty offensive night for either team, but the Miami Heat raced out to a 39-23 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday at home inside Kaseya Center.
Though the Heat was prone yet to another big lead slipping away, which it did once again. After it led by 16 with 8:33 left before halftime, the Cavaliers outscored Miami 30-13 for the remainder of the half and subsequently scored 13 unanswered to begin the second half, fueled by Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell.
Miami’s free-flowing offense quickly turned stagnant, which bled into its defense over the final 24 minutes, ultimately losing 111-99 to the Cavaliers Friday evening.
The Heat have lost five of their last seven games–three of which have come after possessing 15-plus point leads at some point during the game. Cleveland, meanwhile, has won five of its last six games.
Mitchell led all scorers with 27 points, 13 rebounds and six assists on 9-of-17 shooting, including 3-of-8 from 3-point range. Darius Garland, who picked up four very early first-half fouls, had 18 points and six assists with four steals in 26 minutes.
In his return to Miami, Max Strus tallied 11 points and seven rebounds; Georges Niang came alive in the second half, finishing with 13 points on 3-of-4 shooting from deep for Cleveland.
Jimmy Butler had 16 points with five boards for Miami; Kyle Lowry and Josh Richardson led all scoring with 17 points apiece, while Kevin Love finished with 14 points and 12 boards in 28 minutes off the bench.
Collectively, the Heat had a poor game on the glass–finishing a minus-10 in that area–combined with a ghastly 18 turnovers, which fueled 23 Cavaliers fastbreak points and 22 points off turnovers.
Friday night was a disappointing and incredibly sluggish game for the Miami Heat, who will have a chance to get back on track Monday against the Charlotte Hornets.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned for updates.
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