Cavaliers fall to Heat 108-97 
 BY STONE LEXINGTON
    CAVS BEAT WRITER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - There an undeniable factor to the 2019-20 Cleveland Cavaliers: They play hard.

The Cavs entered Thursday’s game against the Miami Heat coming off a tough, one-point loss to the heavily favored and title-contending 76ers in Philadelphia, and the narrative going into the game with Miami was how the team responded to the tough defeat.

Thursday’s game didn’t start well for the Cavs, as the team trailed 9-0 and by as many as 17 points in the first quarter. It only got worse from there, as the Heat cruised to a 108-97 victory in Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

“They’re playing with such heart,” Cavs head coach John Beilein said about the Heat. “They’re playing defense as good there is in the league. There offense is good.

“They’re stopping the three, their hitting the three. Their just really a high functioning team. That’s how we want to be day-in-and-day-out. That’s how we want to be day-in-and-day-out.”

Thursday’s game was the first of four meetings with the Heat, a team that looks as competitive as any in the Eastern Conference. By halftime, the Cavs trailed 68-44 and by as many as 27 points in the third quarter. The biggest issue for the Cavs was Miami guard Kendrick Nunn, who rarely missed on Thursday, totaling 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting with seven assists and five rebounds.

Ball movement was also the key to the game, as the Heat handed out 39 assists to the Cavs 31.

“It’s an age old problem with coaches, getting players to share the ball,” Beilein said. “We’re 27th in assists in the league. That was one of our main points going into today.”

Kevin Love, the only player in NBA history that has made 1,000 career three-pointers while averaging 10 rebounds per game, finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds. He also reached 1,100 three-pointers for his career in the game.

Jordan Clarkson, who has the third-most 20-point games off the bench (54) since entering the league in 2014 (Lou Williams - 135, Jamal Crawford - 60), finished with 10 points.

Collin Sexton, who has scored in double figures in 34 consecutive games, finished with 15 points, four rebounds and three assists.

Despite the insurmountable lead, the Cavs never stopped fighting, cutting the 27-point lead to 10 points in the fourth quarter.
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​POSTED 11/14/2019 20:46
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