The Miami Heat have been flawless at home this season, the road is where their woes lie. They would have a chance to address that on Thursday in Cleveland.
After going 3-3 on the road this season, the Miami Heat defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-97 in Cleveland. The game was an early one, getting off to a 6:00 PM start.
Kendrick Nunn had 23 points and 8 assists, leading the Heat in both categories at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on Thursday night. Nunn shot 10 of 16 (62.5%) from the field, giving the rookie guard his fifth game of the season with 20 points or more. Bam Adebayo earned his seventh double-double of the season, finishing with 15 points and 16 rebounds.
As Justise Winslow and Derrick Jones Jr. missed the game due to injuries, Miami’s defense held Cleveland to 44 points in the first half. Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson were held to a combined 5 points in the first two quarters, helping the Heat establish an early stronghold in a game that did not feature any lead changes.
Miami’s defense — currently rated fourth in the league — tallied 10 steals and seven blocks on the night. Jimmy Butler showcased one of his best defensive performances of the season, earning a team-high three steals and two blocks. Sixth Man of the Year candidate Goran Dragic followed suit, garnering two steals against a Cleveland backcourt with limited answers to a dominant Heat team.
Beyond the efforts of Kevin Love (37.5%) and Darius Garland (42.9%), the Cavaliers struggled with three-point shooting. In spite of an improved shooting performance in the second half against the Miami Heat, Cleveland shot 8 of 32 (25%) on three-point field goals, limiting the Cavaliers’ abilities to entirely close a 27-point scoring margin from the third quarter. Miami shot 12 of 30 (40%) from beyond the arc, thanks to the efforts of Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn, and Tyler Herro — all three rookies shot between 40% to 50% on a minimum of four attempts.
Heading into Cleveland as one of the league’s best passing teams, the Heat (8-3) continued their successful ball movement against the Cavaliers. Miami distributed 31 assists — 15 from Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn — and became the NBA’s second-best team in assist percentage following the win.