CLEVELAND — A disastrous third quarter erased a promising first half, and the Cavaliers fell to the Miami Heat 100-94 Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena for their sixth consecutive loss.
The Cavs, who have dropped 18 of their last 19 games, entered the locker room at halftime with a 53-48 lead and some momentum behind a 10-2 run late in the second quarter. When they took the floor for the second half, though, that momentum had evaporated, and it was all bad news for the Cavs the rest of the way.
Justise Winslow took over on the offensive end, pouring in 13 points in the third quarter and helping the Heat turn a five-point deficit into a 10-point lead (80-70) heading into the fourth quarter.
Winslow’s explosion — he finished with a team-high 27 points — was enough to allow the Heat to overpower the hapless Cavs. Dwyane Wade added the exclamation mark with a highlight-reel dunk in the fourth quarter as the Heat continued to pull away.
It was the expected final trip to Quicken Loans Arena for Wade, who announced in September that this season would be his last. The Cavs played a video tribute to Wade on the jumbotron, and he received a standing ovation before checking into the game.
He finished with 13 points, six rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes.
The Cavs eventually made it semi-interesting, but it was too little, too late. Trailing 97-88 with under 90 seconds left, Cedi Osman stole a Winslow pass and dished it to Alec Burks for a dunk in transition to pull the Cavs to within 97-90. Burks was fouled the next time down the floor and hit one of two free throws to make it a two-possession game.
That, though, was as close as the Cavs got until a last-second 3-pointer by Burks made it 99-94.
Osman scored a game-high 29 points on 11-of-20 shooting to go with four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Burks contributed 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Collin Sexton (13 points), Ante Zizic (11 points) and Rodney Hood (10 points) all scored in double figures.
Love nearing return
Coach Larry Drew said before the game that forward Kevin Love has shown some positive signs in practice, but his status for Sunday’s game in Chicago was still unknown.
Drew added that although Love moved well, all of his activity thus far has been noncontact. The Cavs are aiming to avoid any sort of a setback as Love continues his road back from Nov. 2 foot surgery.
“What I saw of Kevin Love [Friday] morning, I was almost in awe of how well he moved, how well he passed,” Drew said. “I’ve been watching his workouts and he has been shooting the ball extremely well.
"But, again, that’s not going to be my call. That’s medical. And when they feel he’s completely ready, and when he feels like he’s completely ready, and that he can step out onto the floor, we’re going to embrace him.”
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavaliers blog at www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.