Cavaliers (43-25) @ Magic (29-36)
Coming into Monday’s contest, the Cavaliers are looking a little ragged. Luckily their All-Star point guard is playing on an unreal level, Irving has made the last 11 of 12 three pointers he’s attempted. After scoring a career high 57 points against San Antonio, Irving followed up his starry performance with a solid 33 points. Many agree that Irving’s colossal play has pushed the Cavaliers to an entirely new level.
Once a team that looked to be able to put up a fight against the Cavaliers, the Miami Heat are struggling to even get up to .500. Sitting at 29-36, the Heat are currently at the 9th seed in an extremely weak conference. The Cavaliers were easily beaten and had their Christmas ruined by the Heat, a team lead by Luol Deng that has cooled off considerable since then.
Since the loss to the Cavaliers on February 11, the Heat have gained and lost talent. At the deadline, the Heat were able to acquire the Dragic brothers, more notably Goran than Zoran. The Heat were able to sign free agent Hassan Whiteside, barring his attitude problems, Whiteside has had one hell of a half season in terms of rebounding. But the Heat have also lost All-Star center Chris Bosh to blood clots in his lungs.
The Cavaliers have also gained something since the February game against the Heat. Although the Heat game was before the All-Star weekend, it seems that this team has taken immense strides in terms of team chemistry.
Kevin Love may be questionable for Monday’s contest due to rest, and Marion may look to square off against one of his former teams after missing a considerable amount of time.
Here are some things you need to know before watching:
Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat – American Airlines Arena
Game start: 8:00 P.M. Cavs TV- FSO. Heat TV- Sun Sports. National TV-ESPN
Projected Starting Lineups
PG: Kyrie Irving: 22.0 PPG, 5.2 APG, 3.2 RPG, 46.9 % FG
SG: J.R. Smith: 12.4 PPG, 2.6 APG, 3.7 RPG, 41.3 % FG
SF: LeBron James: 26.1 PPG, 7.3 APG, 5.8 RPG, 49.1 % FG
PF: Kevin Love: 16.8 PPG, 2.3 APG, 10.1 RPG, 43.0 % FG
C: Timofey Mozgov: 10.6 PPG, 0.7 APG, 7.4 RPG, 59.2 % FG
PG: Goran Dragic: 16.4 PPG, 4.9 APG, 3.2 RPG, 51.8 % FG
SG: Dwyane Wade: 21.4 PPG, 5.3 APG, 3.7 RPG, 47.5 % FG
SF: Luol Deng: 14.3 PPG, 2.0 APG, 5.0 RPG, 48.0 % FG
PF: Henry Walker: 8.5 PPG, 1.1 APG, 3.3 RPG, 33.0 % FG
C: Hassan Whiteside: 10.9 PPG, 0.1 APG, 9.9 RPG, 62.6 % FG
Matchup to Watch For:
The two squared off and battled on Christmas evening and it was magnificent. The second time around wasn’t much compared to the first game considering Deng was slowed down considerably in the second matchup this season. LeBron and Deng have always been good for a matchup throughout their careers. Although it seems no matter what happens in the regular season, James gets the last laugh.
Although the games between the Heat and Cavaliers have not been eye opening or intense, Deng and James always go their hardest when playing each other, dating back to their Heat and Bulls rivalry. Look for the stakes to be high in terms of pride, as Heat and Cavaliers games have been in the last four years. This won’t be the last contest between the Heat and Cavaliers, so look for this matchup again when they play each other again on April 2nd. April’s game may mean a lot more to the Heat, who are currently vying for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
- Anderson Varejao: Season.
- Chris Bosh: Season.
- Josh McRoberts: Season.
- Miami 5-5 in last 10.
- Cleveland 7-3 in last 10.
- Miami Heat in 9th seed of Eastern Conference.
- Cleveland Cavaliers in 2nd seed of Eastern Conference.
- Kevin Love questionable due to “rest.”
- LeBron James having his right knee worked on after awkward fall. Hopes to play.