Game #23 – Cavaliers (9-13) at Heat (16-6)

OPENING TIP

The Cavaliers got a road win, and look like a team that’s starting to get things figured out. And now comes a test like this. The Heat aren’t as scary as they once were. Dwyane Wade isn’t nearly as explosive these days, and Chris not nearly as frightening. But they still possess the game’s best player in LeBron James and they still defend extremely well — creating turnovers for easy baskets. Kyrie Irving and the Cavs have shot well and taken very good care of the ball lately. If that continues, LeBron won’t matter. The Cavs will have a chance.

Venue: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami.

TV/Radio: 7:30 p.m. EST, FOX Sports Ohio/WTAM

PROJECTED STARTERS

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (9-13)
C Andrew Bynum
PF Tristan Thompson
SF Alonzo Gee
SG C.J. Miles
PG Kyrie Irving

MIAMI HEAT (16-6)
C Chris Bosh
PF Shane Battier
SF LeBron James
SG Dwyane Wade
PG Mario Chalmers

Pregame notes:

• The Heat have been off since Tuesday, when they lost a toughie at Eastern Conference-leader Indiana.

• The teams are meeting for the second time this season. The Heat won a snoozer, 95-84, on Nov 27 at The Q. After Saturday, they meet just once more this season (March 18 at Cleveland).

• The Heat are fifth in the NBA in defense, allowing 95.6 points per game.

• James led the Heat in points (17), rebounds (14) and assists (six) in the loss to the Pacers. That marked the 125th time he led the Heat in all three categories – including third time this season. He has also scored 30 points five times this year. The Heat are 5-0 when it happens.

• Wade has shot 33-of-37 (.892) from the free-throw line in the past seven games.

• Cavs G/F Carrick Felix (left knee soreness) is out. Heat F Michael Beasley (hamstring) is also out.

• The Cavs have won five of six and three in a row.

• This is the first of a five-game homestand for the Heat. They then begin a four-game trip out West on Christmas Day (Los Angeles Lakers).