The Cavaliers have suddenly won six of their last seven games as they’ve finally begun to get healthy as they head into the playoffs. They face a Heat team that’s lost two straight but whose spot in the playoffs is fairly secure. Let’s see how it plays out.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat
When: 8 p.m.
Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
Enemy Blog: Hot Hot Hoops
Online: Watch TNT, Fox Sports Ohio
Cavaliers injuries: Cedi Osman (OUT - hip), Kyle Korver (OUT - personal reasons), Jeff Green (OUT - illness)
Heat injuries: None to report
Three keys to the game
- Are the Cavs really fixed or is this five-game win streak another mirage? They struggled to pull away from both Chicago and Brooklyn in this stretch, but handled Milwaukee and gritted out a tough win against the Raptors. It’s really hard to tell, but as of now, it at least is trending positively.
- We’re getting our first look at a starting lineup featuring Kevin Love and Larry Nance. A LeBron-Love-Nance frontcourt will likely be what the Cavaliers roll out moving forward, and the team should look to leverage the above average passing skills of all three players to generate extra space and easy buckets for everyone else on the team. A Nance-Love high-low action has plenty of potential.
- George Hill is really loving having Kevin Love back in the lineup. In his last four games, Hill is averaging 11.5 points, 2.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds with a +24.5 net rating. He’s shooting 65.5 percent from the field and 54.5 percent from three. Basically, he’s really benefitting from the extra attention that Love receives and is settling into a role in Cleveland. Hill has been solid defensively from the beginning, but his offense is really starting to come around.
How Larry Nance handles bulky centers like Hassan Whiteside will help to define how his tenure in Cleveland will play out. He’s best served offensively as a center, but the workload could wear him down very quickly. The Cavs have some tough questions to answer, but in the short term, they’ll have to keep Whiteside off the glass.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
The Cavaliers are streaking, and they snag another win, this time on the road. Cavs 111, Heat 108.