Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Miami Heat
When: 8 p.m.
Where: American Airlines Arena - Miami, Florida
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Enemy Blog: Hot Hot Hoops
Keys to the game
- The Cavs’ stars did play more minutes than ideal last night after blowing a large lead in the second half. Specifically, LeBron James played 39 minutes and Kyrie Irving played 36. No word yet on if either will rest tonight in Miami. But if they do, it would likely be announced at coach Tyronn Lue’s pregame media availability.
- The Heat, somehow, are in hunt for the Eastern Conference’s No. 8 seed. A recent double-digit win streak vaulted them from the cellar of the East to a team that has a good chance of making the playoffs. Currently, they are 1.5 games behind the Detroit Pistons, essentially tied with the Milwaukee Bucks and 1.5 games up on the Charlotte Hornets. It’s entirely possible that tonight’s game is a first round preview and I’m sure the Cavs wouldn’t mind some time in South Beach at the start of the playoffs.
- For what it’s worth, FiveThirtyEight gives the Heat a 46 percent chance of making the playoffs. By comparison, the Pistons have a 48 percent chance, the Bucks have a 20 percent chance and the Hornets have a 17 percent chance.
- By the same calculation, the Cavs have a 75 percent chance of finishing atop the East. The Boston Celtics has a 23 percent chance and the Washington Wizards have a 1 percent chance. Entering Saturday, Cleveland has a three game lead over Boston and a six game lead over both the Wizards and Toronto Raptors.
- Andrew Bogut will not play tonight as he has not joined the team and won’t debut until Monday. Per cleveland.com, he’s getting his affairs in order and is currently getting in Cleveland.
- Former Cavalier Dion Waiters is having a interesting season with the Heat and hit a few amazing game winners during Miami’s win streak. (Remember the one vs. the Warriors?) But over his last 10 games, he’s shooting just above 40 percent and is at 33.3 percent from three. Over than span, the Heat are still 6-4. Miami did lose last night to the Orlando Magic.
- Tonight does mark another homecoming of sorts after Kyle Korver made his return to Atlanta last night. In addition to LeBron returning to Miami, this is the first time Derrick Williams will play in South Beach since leaving the Heat and joining the Cavaliers. Williams will sign with the Cavaliers for the rest of the season on Saturday.
- Miami enters the the game 14th in offensive rating, sixth in defensive rating and 14th in net rating.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
The Cavs are a much better team than the Heat and both teams are dealing with playing on the second half of a back-to-back. As long as LeBron and Kyrie play, the Cavs should win easily. Cleveland 105, Miami 92.