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Cleveland Cavaliers

Final thoughts: Heat 111, Cavs 87

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 18, 2012

I'm not at all sad to see the Heat train pulling out of the station for the fil time this season. After the last 48 hours, the Cavs and Heat could use a nice, long break from each other.

For those who don't believe Dan Gilbert would ever take LeBron James back, tonight's game showed exactly why he will -- if this story ever really reaches that point. James dominated at both ends of the floor, swatting Kyrie Irving and dunking four times -- despite not playing the fourth quarter.

For one of the few times in two seasons, I don't agree with Byron Scott's post-game assessment. Scott said he thought the players were scared of LeBron and even told them at halftime "It boggles my mind that you’re scared of another man."

I don't think they were scared as much as outmatched. They had no problem standing up to James and the Heat during the two games in Miami. This is a Heat team playing its best basketball of the season, and without Anderson Varejao, the Cavs will have a few more performances like this before the season is through.

This is a team that simply played above its talent level for the first six weeks of the season. Now without their emotional leader and one of their best players, they're regressing to the mean.

A powerful Bulls team came to Cleveland without its best player, Derrick Rose, and destroyed the Cavs in similar fashion. The Cavs weren't scared of the Rose-less Bulls, they just picked the wrong night to play like crap with one of the league's best teams in town.

More alarming to me is how Kyrie Irving's defense seems to be slipping since he returned from a concussion. Indiana's Darren Collison drove by him at will the other night and the Heat's Mario Chalmers shot 4 of 6 on 3s and received way too many open looks around the floor.

Whether they were scared of James or not, the damage has been done. As Scott said afterwards, it's over and time to move on. That means moving on from everything, including the James gossip.

At least until next year.


Kyrie Irving 17 points, 5 assists
Ramon Sessions 15 points, 5 assists
Antawn Jamison 13 points, 4 rebounds
Tristan Thompson 12 points, 6 rebounds
LeBron James 28 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists
Dwyane Wade 22 points, 6 rebounds
Chris Bosh 16 points, 12 rebounds

Turning point
The Heat scored the game's first 11 points and 21 of the first 23. The game was over after seven minutes.

Key stat
The Cavs had eight turnovers and four assists in the first half, a big reason why they trailed 63-38 at the break.

“We looked like we were frightened. I said at halftime, 'It boggles my mind that you’re scared of another man.'" -- Cavs coach Byron Scott

Quotable II
“I guess I speak for the sake of the players, I don’t think we’re scared of anybody. We’re all men here. I think coach is disappointed just like everyone in this locker room and all the fans. We expected to come out and play better. I don’t think anybody in this locker room is scared of any other man in this world.” -- Antawn Jamison

Up next
The Cavs (11-17) host the Sacramento Kings (10-19) at 6 p.m. on Sunday at the Q.

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