Erik Spoelstra highlights main reason for Heat's loss to Cavs

The Miami Heat committed 18 turnovers in their loss to the Cavaliers Friday night.
Cleveland Cavaliers v Miami Heat
Cleveland Cavaliers v Miami Heat / Rich Storry/GettyImages

The Miami Heat could not ask for a better start to a basketball game on Friday night. With a flurry of 3-pointers from Josh Richardson along with Kevin Love outlet dimes to set Miami up with easy transition points, the Miami Heat were able to build a 39-23 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

On top of the Heat clicking on both sides of the court, Cavaliers guard Darius Garland was unable to play most of the first half after racking up four fouls in two quarters.

Turnovers and an uncharacteristic night for Jimmy Butler doomed the Heat in their loss to the Cavaliers.

But as we've seen the Heat do on many occassions when an offense is clicking, the Cavaliers decided to run a scheme Miami has used to throw teams off: zone defense.

From that point forward, Miami's offense began to sputter and the turnovers began to pile up. Suddenly, a 16-point lead became an 18-point defecit which was too steep for Miami to overcome, falling to the Cavaliers, 111-99.

"If you did turnovers throughout the course of the game, bobbles, miscatches, misdribbles, it probably was 35," Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. In total, the Heat finished with 18 turnovers, their second-highest total of the year.

Even with their reckless play in the first half, the Heat only found themslves down 53-52 at half. Unfortunately, Miami let their mess spill over in the second half and three turnovers in the early third quarter led to Donovan Mitchell catching fire and what was once a one possession game became 66-52 defecit for Miami.

"Their first couple minutes in the third quarter kind of hurt us, Donovan [Mitchell] got going, and once he's [Mitchell's] going, he's tough to stop," Josh Richardson said, who finished with 17 points and a team-high five 3-pointers made.

The Heat were also hurt by the performances of Duncan Robinson and Jimmy Butler, who combined for 17 points on 5 for 22 shooting and eight turnovers.

Coming off of a strong performance Wednesday night at Toronto, Robinson followed up with his worst game of the season, scoring one point with no field goals made. Robinson also led the team in turnovers with six.

Butler began the game flat, missing several shots in the paint he normally makes. In a game that got away from Miami, Butler was unable to find his rhythm down the stretch to give his team a chance.

"There were turnovers, missed dribbles, missed catches, things that take you out of your rhythm. All those things add up and they matter," Spoelstra said. "Great rhythm can be fleeting. We've been in a great rhythm offensively for several weeks now and you can't just rely on that. We know that."

With two of their top offensive players out in Tyler Herro (ankle sprain) and Bam Adebayo (hip contusion), the Heat couldn't afford to be careless with the basketball and have to play catch-up.

And with no timeline yet for either Adebayo or Herro to return, Miami will have to generate more efficient nights offensively if they want to stay afloat in the standings.