Dribbles: Everything catches up all at once, as Cavs win streak goes poof

CLEVELAND — Random dribbles from the Cavaliers’ 129-96 home loss to the Heat on Wednesday.Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen chase a loose ball vs. the Heat (Getty)

1. Well, the win streak is over at four. That’s the bad news. The good news is the Cavs only lost once. It may have felt like they lost six or seven, but it truly was just one bad performance.

2. The Cavs won’t make excuses, so I’ll do it for them. They played their best game of the year in Tuesday’s win at Philadelphia. That one went to overtime. In the meantime, the Heat were watching it … from their cushy hotel rooms in Cleveland.

3. So it’s really no surprise the Heat brought all the energy in this one. Or that the Cavs had little to offer.

4. The Heat looked like defending Eastern Conference champs. The Cavs looked like the Miami Tropics from the Will Ferrell comedy Semi-Pro.

5. In other words, chalk this up to the schedule and Miami just being downright unstoppable when it came to perimeter shooting. And yes, the Heat did all this without star big man Bam Adebayo, sidelined with a hip contusion.

6. But also yes, the Cavs were still without Donovan Mitchell (hamstring) and Isaac Okoro (knee). Starting forward Dean Wade also missed the game with a sprained ankle. The injuries finally caught up. Everything did.

7. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff kept it all in perspective. “We tried but we just couldn’t find it tonight,” he said. “You can tell they’re a veteran team.”

8. In other words, the Heat came out with a great deal of intensity, firing away (and making most everything), and with a game plan that was pretty much “run, run, run,” as Bickerstaff put it.

9. Meanwhile, Caris LeVert returned and played relatively well with 12 points. But it didn’t last, as LeVert was thrown out for complaining to the refs at the end of the third quarter. The Cavs trailed 100-76 at the time, so he didn’t miss much.

10. By the 9:00 mark of the fourth quarter, Bickerstaff had cleared the bench. It was at that point that I started dreaming of a running clock.

11. Rookie guard Craig Porter Jr. was again a major bright spot, scoring a team-high 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting. He even made his first two 3-pointers of the season. He’s now scored in double figures in four straight games.

12. Bickerstaff on Porter: “What we’re asking him to do is extremely difficult. He’s another one who gave it his best. … Craig has been a great surprise for us.”

13. Everything else was basically just stats, but I’ll rattle off some anyway. Darius Garland scored 14, Evan Mobley had 13 with 10 rebounds and Georges Niang tallied 11 points off the bench. Jarrett Allen looked like a guy who spent the previous evening matched up with Joel Embiid — and attempted just two shots on Wednesday.

14. The Cavs (8-7) now get a couple days off. Then they get to host none other than LeBron James and the Lakers on Saturday. Who knows? Maybe Mitchell and/or Okoro will be back, as both were assigned to the G League’s Cleveland Charge on Wednesday. Perhaps that means they’re near a return.

15. Bickerstaff said the Cavs intend to “throw this one out.” He added that the Cavs “have been playing really good basketball. We don’t make excuses, but this is the basketball reality we live in.”

16. Happy Thanksgiving. This year I’m giving thanks for the fact you continue to follow along in what feels like my 117th year of doing this. But you make it so that I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

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