GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Heat
The Cleveland Cavaliers (22-45) will take on the Miami Heat (52-14) tonight at Quicken Loans Arena for the third of four regular season meetings. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Only six total points separated these two teams in the first two contests as the Cavs averaged 106.5 points, while shooting a .431 (22-51) mark from three-point range.
The Cavs currently lead the Eastern Conference in second chance points per game at 15.3 (2nd in the NBA). Cleveland also ranks 5th in the East with 12.4 offensive rebounds per game (8th in the league). On Monday against the Indiana Pacers, the Cavs pulled down 16 offensive rebounds and scored 15 second chance points.
Miami comes into tonight's game riding the second longest winning streak in NBA history at 23 games.
Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic
Cavaliers: PG - Shaun Livingston, SG - Wayne Ellington, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Tyler Zeller
Heat: PG - Mario Chalmers, SG - Dwyane Wade, SF - LeBron James
PF - Udonis Haslem, C - Chris Bosh
*Subject to change
The Cavaliers trail the all-time series against the Heat, 39-50, posting a 26-17 mark in games played at home with the Heat holding a 33-13 advantage while playing in their own arena.
The Cavs are 11-4 in their last 15 matchups with the Heat at The Q.
Key to the Game/Key Matchups
Take Care of the Basketball
Miami comes into the game as the league's fifth-highest scoring team at 103.5 points per game and much of their offense is predicated on converting turnovers into fastbreak opportunities.
Since Jan. 14th, the Cavs are averaging an NBA-low 12.4 turnovers per game. In their two contests with the Heat this season, the Cavs are averaging 11.0 turnovers per game.
The Cavaliers have tied or had fewer turnovers than their opponents in 33 of their last 41 contests, and must follow suit again tonight.
Cavs Bench vs. Heat Bench
With the Wine and Gold a bit banged up, the Cavaliers will need contributions from everyone.
Cleveland’s bench has outscored Miami’s reserves 38.0 to 26.5 in the two matchups this season. In the Cavs’ most recent contest on Monday, the bench tallied 43 points and are averaging 38.7 points since Feb. 1.
C.J. Miles has been one of the key contributors off the bench, leading the Cavs with 114 three-pointers made this season. Miles, who has scored in double figures in 12 of his last 15 games, is averaging 14.5 points on .556 shooting, including .538 (7-13) from deep, in 19.5 minutes per game against the Heat this season.
Another key reserve has been forward Luke Walton. Walton leads all Eastern Conference bench players in assists per game since Jan. 22 (4.8).
Miami brings several veteran role players off the bench who can make an impact on the game. Most notably, Ray Allen (.413 3FG%) and Shane Battier (.432 3FG%) cause problems with their superb perimeter shooting.
Where to Catch the Action