What We Learned: Cavs vs Heat


The Cavs were once again on the wrong side of LeBron’s “Homecoming”. The Heat were able to snap the Cavs’ modest three game win streak. Here are some things we can take away from the game.

David Blatt’s starting lineup won’t work. Having Marion play the 4 and Love play the 5 isn’t an option. Maybe Blatt thought that he had a matchup advantage against the Heat with this lineup, but that wasn’t the case. The Heat were able to get to the hoop at will, and that interior defense is not acceptable. Blatt needs to find another lineup that can actually contest shots in the lane. With Varejao out, a trade might be the only option.

Blatt has absolutely no faith in Haywood or Amundson. Blatt elected to start Marion instead of Thompson so he could keep Thompson in his role off the bench. If Blatt thought Haywood/Amundson could provide anything off the bench, he would’ve started Thompson and had Haywood relieve him. The Cavs desperately need to get a center. Love is not an NBA center. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

Marion isn’t a starter. Marion’s run of productive games came to an end as soon as he was inserted back into the starting lineup. For some reason he isn’t comfortable starting on this team. The Cavs need to find a way to move him to the bench and keep him there. He ended the game with 2 points and no assists. He is always hesitant on the offensive end when he starts, but he, for whatever reason, puts up number off the bench. As a starter, he has played 21 games but only put up double figures in three of those 21 games. As a reserve, in only six games, he has put up double digits twice.

Missed free-throws lose you games. The Cavs have been a solid free-throw shooting team this year shooting 76% as a team, but that wasn’t the case tonight. They were 21-33 ( 63% ) from the line. It would’ve been nice to have some of those points back at the end of the game.

The Cavs can’t start playing in the 2nd half and expect to win games. The Cavs can’t come out flat and expect to win games. They need to play 48 minutes to win games, not just 24. They played awful in the 1st half and showed little effort, like many times this season. It came back to haunt them tonight. The Heat came out playing like it was game 7 of the Finals, the Cavs didn’t come close to matching their intensity.

Loul Deng had something to prove to the Cavs. Deng ended last season in Cleveland and did not perform anything near how he performed tonight. He ended the game with 25/8/8. Deng was the one that had something to prove against his former team, not LeBron.

Mike Miller has no chance of guarding a premier shooting guard. He was torched by Wiggins on Tuesday night and Wade had his number tonight. The fact of the matter is he doesn’t have a chance at defending these players with his bad back and lack of athleticism. Wade cooled off in the 2nd half when Miller wasn’t covering him anymore.

LeBron didn’t play anywhere near like he played the first time he returned to Cleveland in 2011. He was cold from 3 and couldn’t seem to find his touch at the free throw line. He still had a solid game but he didn’t display the sense of urgency that he did on that unforgettable night in Cleveland, four years ago.

Dion Waiters has quietly become a decent defender. He is showing that he has the heart and hustle to be a serviceable defender. He had 3 steals and 2 blocks, or as I like to call it: 5 stocks (S/O: Bill Simmons). He did a good job of covering Wade when he was asked to. Waiters still struggle with smart shot selection, but thats just the way he plays, and the Cavs will have to just deal with that. He is slowly becoming better sharing the ball too, but would vastly improve his overall offensive game.


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