The Cleveland Cavaliers (17-31) travel to South Beach tonight to take on the defending Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat (25-24), who recently acquired star playmaker Victor Oladipo and have won their last three-in-a-row. The Cavs come into tonight’s match-up on a four-game skid, but there are valid reasons to tune in — namely the return of veterans Kevin Love and Matthew Dellavedova.
How to watch:
Tipoff is at 8 p.m. EST on Bally Sports, Fox Sports Go and NBA League Pass
Cavs: Darius Garland / Collin Sexton / Isaac Okoro / Kevin Love / Isaiah Hartenstein
Heat: Victor Oladipo / Duncan Robinson / Jimmy Butler / Trevor Ariza / Bam Adebayo
New Pieces, New Puzzle
Darius Garland has showcased his improved playmaking ability, but consistency is lacking. As Coach Bickerstaff trots out his 24th potential starting line-up this season, Garland will have to work again on the fly to create workable plays while also finding his own rhythm and spots. On Friday, Garland struggled on offense, but did register 8 assists. The pieces are there, but it’s up to Coach Bickerstaff and Garland to assemble and run a game plan that pulls the Cavs out of their current offensive coma.
A pending Fro-mance
On Friday’s match-up against the Sixers, Love showed flashes of what he can bring to his team, which currently ranks dead-last on offense. Things change quickly in basketball when the 3-ball is hitting, and having Allen back will allow Kevin to draw defenders while floating to his sweet spot on the perimeter. Cavs fans will be delighted to see Love’s signature cross-court outlet pass on its first date with a high-flying Allen to the rim — but for now, Kev will have to hand it to Hartenstein, who should draw the start against Heat’s big Bam Adebayo.
Jimmy Buckets always finds a way to light up the Cavs and tonight will be no different. In Cleveland’s last match up against the Heat, Butler led all scorers with 28 points on 11 for 16 shooting — he’s been dominating all season. As Kevin Love becomes re-acclimated on a minutes restriction, expect Isaac Okoro to cover the best player on the floor. The Cavs’ chances of winning will rest squarely on the rookie’s ability to defend down the stretch.