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CLEVELAND — It didn’t get any prettier for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night, but it somehow will count in the win column.
Ultimately, that’s how the Cavs’ 91-89 escape job over the visiting Miami Heat should be viewed. It was a win. End of discussion and on to the next.
In other words, this is one of those games where the Cavs will accept the final result, then probably try to forget most of the rest.
‘We didn’t shoot the ball great, but I thought we did a good job of just grinding it out,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said.
* LeBron James scored 24 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and despite compiling a lower-than-normal five assists, set up teammates for lots of open looks. (On more than a few occasions, they didn’t knock them down.)
* Channing Frye came off the bench to score 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, practically keep the Cavs in it all by himself for a portion of the third quarter. And yes, the Cavs improved to 19-2 when Frye plays 11 minutes or more.
* Finally, the Cavs will also tell you their defense was much-improved, and it was indeed a better than anything we’ve seen in the past five or six games. And it is indeed a good thing the Heat were a miserable 3-of-28 shooting on 3-pointers. Knock one more down and its a loss for the Cavs.
* Isaiah Thomas was a miserable 2-of-15 from the floor, and the Cavs weren’t much better than the Heat on threes — finishing 6-of-26 from beyond the arc. Thomas admitted afterward that he still doesn’t have his legs and remains out of rhythm.
* Overall, the Cavs shot 35 percent from the field (28-of-80) and no one outside of James and Frye really struck fear into the opposition. Usually, it’s the defense that looks out of sorts and old. On this night, it was the offense.
* Tristan Thompson started and played 23 minutes, missing all five of his shot attempts for zero points. He grabbed six rebounds but lacked energy and didn’t appear to be overly engaged.
* The loudest noise from the crowd came in the form of boos for the home team. That’s rarely a good thing.
* For the most part, the Cavs did nothing to make you think they’ve solved their issues, and the chemistry still seems way out of whack. Or nonexistent, take your pick.
“It’s been a tough month for us, but it’s always good to end on a good note,” Thomas said.
That’s about the extent of it, and the Cavs (30-20) now get a few days off before hosting James Harden and the Houston Rockets in Saturday’s ABC prime-time game. It’s doubtful the Cavs will also hold Houston to 89 points, or even 109.
Basically, even in wins, it’s tough to believe things are headed in the direction the Cavs once envisioned. Adding to the disappointment was Wednesday’s news that there is still no definite timetable for Kevin Love’s return.
Goran Dragic led the Heat (29-22) with 18 points, and Josh Richardson scored 15.
Jae Crowder added 11 points and seven rebounds for the Cavs, who increased their edge over the Heat for the East’s third-best record by 1.5 games.