David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Score: Miami 98, Cleveland 95
This may very well have been the signature game for LeBron James and company during the win streak. It had all the right elements: James returning to Cleveland, a large deficit and a big winning streak on the line.
The Cavs jumped out to an outrageous 27-point lead at one point during the third quarter, prompting everyone to rub their eyes and make sure they read the score correctly. The Cleveland fans were loving it. A blowout win over their ex-love LeBron James would have felt like an NBA championship at that point.
There was no storybook ending to be had that night, however, as the Heat managed to storm back with a 37-10 run. This incredible surge came with about seven minutes in the third quarter and culminated with 10:26 to go in the fourth.
Coming back from 17 against Boston was one thing, but to come back from a 27-point hole showed the dominance of this Heat team. The sheer momentum of that kind of comeback eventually propelled Miami to a double-digit lead of its own and, ultimately, a 24th straight W.
It's hard to say where a team as depleted as the Cavs went wrong in this one, as they were limited on firepower without Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Anderson Varejao.
But if I had to pick an aspect that they really slipped up in (besides playing Luke Walton for 16 minutes), I'd go with lack of smart basketball during the Heat's big run.
Basketball is indeed a game of runs. It's how the Cavaliers built their lead and it's also how they lost it. Runs are usually started and maintained by finding and making easy shots and taking care of the basketball.
The Cavs didn't do much of that, since they shot just 3-of-11 with four turnovers during the Heat's 37-10 run. Many of those shots were missed three-pointers and perimeter shots that didn't need to be attempted.
With such a great chance to pull of a tremendous upset, the Cavs simply lost their momentum and didn't do what was necessary to get it back. There's probably a lot to regret for what could've been a season highlight for Cleveland.
Instead, this game will be looked at as a bad team showing their true colors when facing the best team in the league.