Where: Cleveland, OH - Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
When: 7 p.m. EST
TV: Bally Sports Ohio, Bally Sports+, NBA League Pass
Opposing blog: Hot Hot Hoops
Cavs’ expected starting lineup: Darius Garland / Donovan Mitchell / Lamar Stevens / Evan Mobley / Jarrett Allen
Cavs’ injury report: Kevin Love (DOUBTFUL - finger), Dean Wade (OUT - left knee), Ricky Rubio (OUT - ACL), Dylan Windler (OUT - right ankle)
Heat expected starting lineup: Kyle Lowry / Max Strus / Haywood Highsmith / Caleb Martin / Dewayne Dedmon
Heat injury report: Bam Adebayo (QUESTIONABLE - knee), Dewayne Dedmon (QUESTIONABLE - knee), Gabe Vincent (QUESTIONABLE - knee), Duncan Robinson (DOUBTFUL - finger), Tyler Herro (OUT - ankle), Jimmy Butler (OUT - knee), Victor Oladipo (OUT - knee), Udonis Haslem (OUT - personal), Omer Yurtseven (OUT - ankle)
What to watch for
Tired legs. Both teams are coming off of overtime games. Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen all played over 43 minutes in the win over the Charlotte Hornets. Meanwhile, the Heat are coming off an overtime loss to the Washington Wizards. Miami only had seven available players which resulted in four guys playing over 40 minutes including nearly 51 minutes for Kyle Lowry.
This has all the makings of a sloppy game.
Periphery scoring. The Cavs will need to have some scoring from players outside of the core four of Garland, Mitchell, Mobley and Allen given the minutes they played last game. Potentially not having Kevin Love will put more of a burden on the role players who have not necessarily answered the bell recently. It would go a long way if the Cavs could get some good performances out of the likes of Caris LeVert, Lamar Stevens, Cedi Osman and Isaac Okoro.
Attacking the paint. The Heat are banged up. Particularly inside. They were forced to start rookie Nikola Jovic inside alongside the 6’ 5” Caleb Martin the last two games with not a lot of help behind them. Orlando Robinson saw his first NBA minutes last game against the Wizards as they struggled to find available bodies to occupy the paint.
Dewayne Dedmon and Bam Adebayo could be back for this game. But if they are not, Miami could have a hard time hanging with Mobley and Allen. It’ll be necessary for the duo to attack whoever is playing inside. Early foul trouble for Miami could lead to some lineups Erik Spoelstra doesn’t want to see out there.
Darius Garland. Garland has been on a tear the last three games as he’s averaging 38.3 points on 56% shooting from deep with 6.7 assists per game over that stretch. His confidence is clearly returning after a tough start to the season. We’ll see if he can keep it going tonight.
The three ball. The Heat are giving up the second-highest percentage of threes this season. Opponents are attempting 40.1% of their shots from beyond the arc and are knocking down 37.2% of those shots.
Miami has long been built around a defense that prioritizes protecting the rim at the expense of the outside shot. However, the defense has taken a slight step back this season as they’ve aged and had a tough time staying healthy. This has resulted in the wrong guys getting outside looks this season.
The Cavs still have one of the best outside-shooting teams this season. We’ll see if Garland and Mitchell can get things going beyond the arc.