Heat (34-40) @ Cavaliers (48-27)

The Cavaliers crawled to a victory on Sunday and barely escaped with a two point win over the lowly Philadelphia 76ers. Looking back at the game, you’d think the Cavaliers blew the 76ers out of the water considering they missed 10 of their final 11 shots in the fourth quarter. However, the Cavaliers returned the disgusting favor of also choking in the fourth quarter. This should be one game that shouldn’t be mentioned at the end of the season.

After losing a horrendous game against the San Antonio Spurs, the Miami Heat are currently holders of the 7th seed in the weak Eastern Conference. The Heat have had hard times stringing together wins this season, and show obvious signs of pains without superstar LeBron James (AAYYYOOOO). The Miami Heat have bounced back much better than the Cavaliers did the first year after LeBron’s absence.

Trading practically half their team for point guard Goran Dragic, the Heat have been rejuvenated with a recent scoring outburst by Dwyane Wade which included a 40 point outburst last week. Although with all of these successes, the Heat still have Chris Bosh out for the season and newly acquired center Hasaan Whiteside is also very cautious after receiving stitches between his fingers due to a freak accident last week.

The Cavaliers have their sights set for April and beyond. These games between then are only requirements to secure the second seed in the Eastern Conference. After another decent month in March, the Cavaliers look to continue their dominance into the month of April. Last contest included two of their players exiting due to injury – Iman Shumpert and Kevin Love. The Cavaliers are relieved to have a three day break from games. The players were able to hang out with family, which can be crucial considering the stretch between April-May that family time will be limited. The Cavaliers may face the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs, so look to see how they are able to close out the season series on Thursday night.

Here are some things you need to know before watching:

Miami Heat at Cleveland Cavaliers – Quicken Loans Arena

Game start: 8:00 P.M. EST.  National TV- TNT.

Projected Starting Lineups

Cavaliers:

PG: Kyrie Irving: 21.9 PPG, 5.2 APG, 3.2 RPG, 46.7 % FG

SG: J.R. Smith: 12.8 PPG, 2.6 APG, 3.7 RPG, 42.6 % FG

SF: LeBron James: 25.7 PPG, 7.3 APG, 5.9 RPG, 48.9 % FG

PF: Kevin Love: 16.5 PPG, 2.3 APG, 10.0 RPG, 43.3 % FG

C: Timofey Mozgov: 10.7 PPG, 0.8 APG, 7.0 RPG, 60.0 % FG

Heat:

PG: Goran Dragic: 16.0 PPG, 5.4 APG, 3.6 RPG, 50.9 % FG

SG: Dwyane Wade: 21.8 PPG, 5.1 APG, 3.6 RPG, 48.0 % FG

SF: James Ennis: 4.4 PPG, 0.6 APG, 3.5 RPG, 40.7 % FG

PF: Henry Walker: 8.0 PPG, 1.3 APG, 4.0 RPG, 34.5 % FG

C: Chris Andersen: 5.4 PPG, 0.8 APG, 5.1 RPG, 58.6 % FG

Matchup to Watch For:

Although the two don’t play the same position, the two are brothers beyond the game. Wade and James have had their fair share of “lovey dovey” games. The first game between the two this year was the first game since LeBron James split the two back in July. Although some claim LeBron is the MVP this season, many are also arguing that Wade is beyond his prime and is on the downside of his career. Wade has answered some of those critics in the past weeks, including a 40 point outing against the Detroit Pistons on March 29th.

LeBron has shown to take it a little easy on his former team, leading many to wonder why that is. LeBron scored 38 points against the Cavaliers the first time they met after the departure back in 2010. LeBron and Wade proved to be a great matchup to watch back in the early 2000’s when each had their own team to run, and now that scenario is a reality once again. Look for LeBron to lock in at home Thursday and take care of business. In terms of the love beyond the game, it’s one for the ages.

Injury Report:

Cavaliers:

  • Anderson Varejao: Season. (Achilles) 

Heat:

  • Udonis Haslem: Probable for Thursday. 
  • Shabazz Napier: Day to Day. 
  • Luol Deng: Day to Day.
  • Josh McRoberts: Day to Day.
  • Chris Bosh: Day to Day.

Game Notes:

  • Cavaliers 8-2 in last 10.
  • Heat 5-5 in last 10.
  • Cavaliers 1st in Central Division.
  • Heat 3rd in Southeast Division.
  • Cavaliers 2nd in Eastern Conference.
  • Heat 7th in Eastern Conference.

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