Miami Heat: Justise Winslow’s 27 points help beat the Cleveland Cavaliers

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 28: Justise Winslow #20 of the Miami Heat (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 28: Justise Winslow #20 of the Miami Heat (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The 23-24 Miami Heat beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 100-94 in typical Heat fashion, with the game being decided during crunch time.

The Miami Heat are trying to get back to .500, or possibly above it, and this win was key for this team to be able to make that a reality. And while winning is always positive, looking back at this one may have a negative connotation, as the league-worst Cavaliers were able to go on a 13-1 run in the last few minutes and get within 4 points of tieing the game up.

Fortunately, a few things happened in Miami’s favor. Firstly, Justise Winslow came to play extremely good basketball where Miami needed, but not the usual point Justise. The Heat have not needed a facilitator as of late from Winslow (Tyler Johnson made that happen in this one with 6 assists), they have desperately needed an offensive juggernaut to help get out of dry stretches, and Winslow was that guy scoring 27 points in this crucial win.

Here is Winslow on his performance tonight, per Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel:

"“Tonight, just reading the game, I got it going,” he said. “Just understanding what this team needs, which is for me to read the game and really be two plays ahead is what I’m trying to do.”"

Indeed, it seemed that Winslow was playing chess while the Cavaliers were playing checkers. Albeit, the only tangible threat to Winslow’s chess game in this one of the current-best players on the Cavs with All-Star Kevin Love still injured, Cedi Osman, who had a career-best 29 points.

Winslow will get a lot of love after his well-rounded game of 27 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and shooting 11-18 from the field along with 4-6 from downtown. But that may not be the reason the Heat pulled out a win in this game, it may be the decision of Head Coach Erik Spoelstra on how he decided to run his 10-man/8-man rotation last night with Dion Waiters out (migraine).

While it was only a 10-man rotation in the first half, the Heat pulled away early due to Spo’s decision to get everyone involved, but ultimately it was his mature decision to keep Kelly Olynyk and Rodney McGruder on the bench in the 2nd half, only playing an 8-man rotation throughout the remainder of the game.

Another key factor in this game was the diversity of the frontcourt. With Hassan Whiteside getting only 22 minutes, but also putting up a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, the Heat were able to get other guys in to add to Whiteside’s solid night, like the double-double from Derrick Jones Jr. with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Ultimately, this highlight from Dwyane Wade below ended the night on a happy note, for both of the fan groups.

Wade jumped in a time machine prior to lifting off, giving his former Cavs team some joy as they got ready to leave the arena.

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The Heat will be back on your television Sunday night against the New York Knicks at 7:30 PM Eastern.