Cavaliers-Heat Preview

While the Miami Heat came up short in one of their toughest

matchups to date, they’ve mostly had their way against LeBron

James’ former team.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, though, have been playing well of

late.

The Heat look to continue their recent domination of the

visiting Cavaliers, who seek a sixth win in seven games Saturday

night.

Miami (16-6) has dropped three of five after falling 90-84 at

Eastern Conference-leading Indiana on Tuesday. James had 17 points

and 14 rebounds but shot a season-worst 37.5 percent (6 of 16) in a

rematch of last year’s conference finals.

“Anytime you get into this kind of a slugfest with them, where

you’re down six to eight points, it feels like it’s a 20-point

lead,” Chris Bosh said. “We know they’re a good team. We know what

their goals are, we know what our goals are, we want to keep

building to be a complete team for the spring.”

The Heat would appear to have a good chance to bounce back

against the Cavaliers (9-13), whom they have limited to an average

of 93.8 points in an eight-game winning streak in the series. Miami

is 11-1 against Cleveland, including 6-0 at home, since James

switched teams before the 2010-11 season.

He had 28 points, eight boards and eight assists as the Heat won

95-84 in Cleveland on Nov. 27.

“It’s always weird going against your old team, but there’s not

much of a special meaning,” James said. “It is when I get to go

back to Cleveland and get to see the fans … but not here.”

The Cavaliers have won a season-high three straight and five of

six after pulling out a 109-100 victory at Orlando on Friday. Kyrie

Irving led the way with 31 points and Dion Waiters added 21 off the

bench as Cleveland improved to 2-10 on the road.

The Cavaliers are averaging 102.4 in their wins compared to just

87.9 in their losses.

“We’re starting to develop our identity as a great team,

especially when things aren’t going our way offensively,” Irving

said. “We’re not doing as well as we want on the road, but we’re

taking steps in the right direction.”

Irving, averaging a team-best 21.0 points, has totaled 68 on

55.3 percent shooting in the last two games. The Cavaliers have

gone 12-3 since the beginning of January when Irving scores at

least 30, including 4-0 this season.

Irving, though, has failed to score more than 17 points in each

of his six games against Miami, shooting just 37.9 percent.

Despite Friday’s win, the Cavaliers rank near the bottom of the

NBA with 91.7 points per game as the visiting team. The Heat, set

to open a season high-tying five-game homestand, are 9-2 on their

own court.

“We’re going to take advantage of every opportunity we get, at

home or on the road,” James said. “Just happy to be back. It’s

going to be fun in front of our home fans once again (Saturday)

night, and we’re looking forward to putting on a show.”

The Cavaliers may need to keep Chris Andersen off the glass if

they hope to have a shot, as Miami is 9-0 when he pulls down at

least five boards.