NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers score season-low 79 in loss to Miami Heat

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson (left) drives against Miami Heat forward Kelly Olynyk (centre) and Miami Heat forward Josh Richardson (right) during the second half of the NBA basketball game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami He
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson (left) drives against Miami Heat forward Kelly Olynyk (centre) and Miami Heat forward Josh Richardson (right) during the second half of the NBA basketball game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida, on March 27, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - The Miami Heat led from the outset and routed the Cleveland Cavaliers 98-79 in the National Basketball Association (NBA) at AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday (March 27).

Miami's Kelly Olynyk scored a game-high 19 points with five rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench. James Johnson and Josh Richardson each had 15. Dwyane Wade had 12 points, four assists and four blocks in just 17 minutes while Goran Dragic added 10 points.

The Heat won their seventh straight game at home and improved to 9-1 in South Florida since the All-Star break.

LeBron James scored 18 points with six rebounds and seven assists - but six turnovers - for Cleveland, and Rodney Hood had 15 off the bench. Jordan Clarkson and Jose Calderon each scored 11.

Cleveland centre Kevin Love scored just one point in seven minutes after hard contact early in the game. He left just 1min 22sec into the game after taking an elbow to the face from Miami centre Jordan Mickey while trying to draw a charging foul.

The Cavaliers had their five-game winning streak snapped and lost for the 14th consecutive time in Miami, dating back to 2010. Cleveland also saw their four-game streak of scoring at least 120 points a game, tying the franchise record, come to an end in abrupt fashion.

The Heat held a pair of seven-point leads in the first quarter but increased the advantage as their reserves chipped in. Wayne Ellington hit both of his three-point attempts and Wade added four points as Miami extended the lead to 29-18 at the end of the quarter.

Love re-entered the game to start the second quarter, but the Heat did not let up. With James on the bench, Miami stretched the lead to 36-18 on seven points from Olynyk in the first 2:01 of the quarter.

The Cavaliers' deficit grew to 43-21 as they missed 11 of 12 shots from the floor in the middle of the quarter.

Cleveland's 29.5 per cent shooting left the team in a 54-34 hole at half-time, the Cavaliers' lowest-scoring first half this season.

Cleveland cut the deficit to 13 at 70-57 on Clarkson's three-pointer with 2:40 left in the third, but Miami built the lead back up to 75-59 at the quarter's end.

The Cavaliers never got closer than 11 in the fourth quarter, shot 36.5 per cent from the field and finished with a season-low 79 points. It was Cleveland's lowest point total since exactly one year before, when the Cavs lost 103-74 to the San Antonio Spurs.