What We Learned: Cavs vs Heat

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The Cavs took on the LeBron’s former squad on Thursday night. The Cavs have struggled against the Heat this season and had only won one of their three meetings before Thursday’s contest. The Cavs dominated this one right from the opening tip and won this one running away with it. The Heat were forced to play most of the game without Dwayne Wade who left the game with a bruised knee in the first half. Cleveland moved one step closer to locking up the second seed in the East with a 114-88 win against Miami. Here’s what we learned.

Miami’s playoff hopes have taken a big hit. The Heat are fighting with five other teams for two playoff spots. This was a game they didn’t want to drop. They also can’t afford to be without Wade for any significant length of time if they hope to make the playoffs.

LeBron passed somebody up on the all-time scoring list…again. LBJ passed up the great Patrick Ewing for 20th place on the all-time scoring list. It was only fitting that James passed up the Hall of Fame center with a hook shot from the paint. LBJ finished with 23/7/8 and put in a solid performance against his former team, which is something he couldn’t really boast of before this one.

The Cavs can demoralize teams with their three point shooting. Cleveland once again was on their game from behind the arc. They finished with 15 threes on 43% shooting. Cleveland once again showed that they are nearly impossible to beat when they’re hitting their shots from distance. They were able to break the will of Miami with their long range shooting on Thursday night.

Matthew Dellavedova is continuing to show why he can be a backup point guard for this team. He finished with 14 points and was 4 of 5 from behind the three point line. Delly is continuing to show that he can contribute defensively and with his three point shot. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this continues into the playoffs.

Tristan Thompson is an animal on the glass. Thompson finished with 15 boards including 5 on the offensive end to help the Cavs secure the victory. You can’t overvalue a guy that can have games like this on a consistent basis. He also was able to posterize Chris Andersen on a gorgeous alley-oop pass from Delly.

LeBron can still play with his back to the basket. I personally think LeBron is playing at his best when he can play in the post. It means he’s not settling for outside shots alone, but he’s working his inside game as well. James’ best games have come when he’s able to establish a post game and an outside game. LBJ has shown during his time in Miami that he can effectively play the power forward position if he has to. On Thursday, he was able to convert on numerous jump hooks and post moves. I hope he only continues this in the playoffs.

Luol Deng still has something to prove to Cleveland. Deng has been unbelievable this year against Cleveland. He finished with 17 points in Thursday night’s contest.

Iman Shumpert can light up the scoreboard. Shump finished with 17 points on 7 of 12 shooting on Thursday night. It’s great to see Shumpert put the ball in the basket. He has shown time and time again that he can help win games with his excellent defense, but it’s even better when he adds some offense to his game as well. Shump has been a great addition to the team and fits in beautifully with the second unit. He provides the Cavs with the depth they despretley needed.

Player of the Game: Iman Shumpert (17 points and 4 steals)

Cleveland will be back in action Sunday afternoon against the Bulls.

Jackson Flickinger

pic credit Cleveland.com

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