The Cleveland Cavaliers lost for the fifth time in six tries to the Miami Heat on Tuesday since acquiring former Cavalier LeBron James and Chris Bosh in the summer of 2010. This stat, although not appalling, will most likely become a reoccurring trend over the next six years, and possibly beyond.
Back on March 29, 2011, the Cavaliers beat the Miami Heat for the first time since the Heat had acquired James as a free agent. Cleveland won the game handily too, outscoring Miami 27-20 in the fourth quarter, something they haven’t been able to do against the Heat as of late.
In Tuesday’s loss against the Heat there was hope of a Cavalier comeback. Down by six at the end of three quarters, Cleveland put up a miserable fourth quarter, as they were bested 29-19 to end the game. What looked like a really close game for the most part quickly turned into an embarrassing sixteen-point loss.
Usually it is the Heat and LeBron that have trouble closing out games, but in Miami’s five wins since 2010, the Cavaliers have been outscored 139-113 in the final quarter of play. That’s on average a 5.2-point swing, and usually the games between these two teams are well decided before the final buzzer.
For example, the first game against LeBron and his old team in Cleveland on December 2, 2010 was a blowout win for Miami, 118-90. Although the Cavaliers did outscore the Heat 25-23 in the fourth quarter, the Heat took out their starters because they managed to pile up a 30-point advantage before the final 12 minutes.
In my opinion, the 5.2 fourth quarter differential means a lot, especially against a team that is known for not being able to close out games.
It seems that James also has Cleveland’s number when Cleveland and Miami face off. James averages 25.3 points per game in the six games that he has played against the Cavs in his career. His career average is 27.7, but for a guy who seems to put pressure on himself in situations like these, 25.3 points per is pretty solid.
Unless the two teams meet in the postseason, the Cavs have one last matchup at home against the Miami Heat this season. It’s LeBron’s only trip home in the regular season, so Cleveland fans will make sure that they give him another warm welcome.