Cavaliers vs Heat 2012: Gametime, Preview and more

Mike Ehrmann

The Cavs try to avoid a Sunshine State sweep tonight in Miami. They'll have their work cut out for them as the Heat look to build their second four game winning streak of the season.

The Miami Heat will be hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers at 7:30 at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Tonight will mark the first of four meetings this season between the two clubs, and the first of two in South Beach. The Heat will be playing in the second game of a four game homestand. They’re coming off a seven point win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, their only contest in the last seven days. Over the next week, Miami will host the San Antonio Spurs and the Brooklyn Nets before traveling to our Nation’s Capital to face the Washington Wizards. The Cavs will be playing in the second game of a three game road trip. They dropped the first game 102-98 on Friday night to the Orlando Magic. After tonight’s matchup, they’ll appear in Memphis on Monday night to take on the Grizzlies.

The teams last met on February 17th at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Here's the Associated Press partial recap:

His latest homecoming over and the hatred subsided, LeBron James had more to do.

He greeted a fans standing behind the bench and personally delivered his headband to a young admirer before heading to the locker room. He left the floor he once owned, skipping down a carpeted runway and slapping outstretched hands with every step. It was time to leave for his new home.

It was time to go back to Miami and run down an NBA title.

James scored 28 points in his third game back in Cleveland as a visitor, Dwyane Wade added 22 and the Heat concluded a six-game road trip with their fifth straight win, 111-87 over the Cavaliers, who seemed intimidated by Miami's mere presence. Booed loudly every time he touched the ball by fans who haven't forgiven h

im for leaving two years ago, James scored 16 in the third quarter when the Heat opened a 34-point lead. He added four dunks, three 3-pointers, five rebounds, five assists and rested the entire fourth quarter.

Full Recap Box Score Game Highlights

Ex-Cavalier LeBron James spoke about Miami’s strong road trip:

''The way we won these last five games was very impressive,'' James said. ''We went on the road and won by double digits in each of those games and in some hostile environments. It was definitely a big road trip for us, six games in 10 days. We took care of business.''

For the Cavs point of view, check out Fear the Sword.

Miami is coming off a seven point overtime victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night. Partial recap from NBA.COM:

The Miami Heat defeated Milwaukee Bucks 113-106 in overtime Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Guard Dwyane Wade and forward LeBron James led the Heat with 28 points each. The Heat avoided blowing an 18-point, first-half lead by closing strong in the extra period. They opened scoring the first six points, and never trailed in overtime.

Forward Chris Bosh added 24 points and a season-high 18 rebounds. The Bucks had a chance to win in regulation but guard Monta Ellis missed a 3-pointer as time expired. Guard Brandon Jennings led Milwaukee with 19 points, but it was an off night for one of the league's top backcourts.

Ellis finished with just nine points on 4 of 16 shooting. The guards combined to shoot 13 of 41 from the field.

Full Recap

Box Score

Game Highlights

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra spoke about Miami’s tendency to relax just a little too much with a big lead:

"We got off to the 18-point lead and then from there we just kind of relaxed. It was more of a relaxation of the mind and they got back into the game ... But again, it's got to be more about consistency and doing it for longer stretches rather than just spurts."

For the Milwaukee perspective, check out Brew Hoop.

The Cavs are coming off a four point loss to the Orlando Magic. Jameer Nelson led Orlando with 22 points, Arron Afflalo pitched in 19, and JJ Redick scored 18 off the bench to pace the Magic. Dion Waiters led five Cavs in double figures with 25, while Anderson Varejao scored 19 with 17 rebounds. Full recap, box score, and highlights at NBA.COM.

Check out Orlando Pinstriped Post for all the Magic news you could possibly need.

Game Time: 7:30 PM ET

Current Odds: Miami by -14 1/2

All-Time Series: 48-39

Season Series: 0-0

Standings:

Miami Heat: 9-3, first in the Southeast Division, second in the Eastern Conference, tied for third in the NBA. Last five: W-L-W-W-W. Current odds of making the postseason: 95.2%

Cleveland Cavaliers: 3-9, fourth in the Central Division, 12th in the Eastern Conference, 27th in the NBA. Last five: L-L-L-W-L, Current odds of making the postseason: 20.0%

Injury Report: For the Cavs, Daniel Gibson is questionable for tonight's game with tightness in his right elbow. Luke Harangody just had arthroscopic right knee surgery, and will miss at least two months. Kyrie Irving broke his left index finger abd is expected to miss one month.

For the Heat, Rashard Lewis has a slight illness but is probable for the game. Dexter Pittman is out indefinitely with strained quadriceps.

Starting Lineup/Team Stats: (MPG, PPG, RPG, APG, SPG, BPG); PER

Heat:

PG - Mario Chalmers (25.9, 6.9, 2.6, 4.8, 1.6, 0.2) 12.1

SG – Ray Allen (27.0, 12.5, 3.0, 2.3, 1.2, 0.2) 19.1

SF - Shane Battier (27.0, 6.8, 2.5, 0.8, 0.6, 1.1) 9.6

PF - LeBron James (36.9, 24.8, 9.1, 6.6, 0.9, 1.0) 28.9

C - Chris Bosh (33.5, 20.0, 8.2, 1.4, 0.8, 1.3) 24.6

Cavs:

PG – Donald Sloan (10.1, 2.6, 0.6, 2.0, 0.0, 0.0) 6.1

SG – Dion Waiters (30.1, 13.9, 2.4, 2.4, 1.0, 0.2) 11.5

SF – Alonzo Gee (33.4, 12.0, 3.7, 2.2, 1.9, 0.5) 12.7

PF – Tristan Thompson (30.7, 9.2, 8.7, 1.5, 1.0, 0.4) 13.3

C – Anderson Varejao (35.5, 13.9, 13.7, 3.2, 1.3, 0.4) 22.5

Common Thread: LeBron James spent the first seven seasons of his NBA career in Cleveland. He leads most all-time offensive categories, including 22,108 minutes played, 5,415 field goals, 3,650 free throws, 955 steals, and 15,251 points scored. He is second with 771 three-pointers and with 3,810 assists, and fourth with 482 blocked shots and with 3,861 rebounds.

Splits: When playing his former team, LeBron James averages 25.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 7 assists in just under three quarters per game. In 22 career games against Miami, NBA leading rebounder Anderson Varejao averages 7.5 points and 7.2 rebounds in 26 minutes per game.

Milestones:

Chris Bosh needs seven field goals to pass Sherman Douglas into 17th on the all-time list with 1,012.

LeBron James will pass Bimbo Coles into 11th all-time with 15 field goals, giving him 1,513.

Joel Anthony needs nine rebounds to pass Bimbo Coles into 19th, with 1,070.

Musical Reference: Here’s one in honor of how looney tunes Cavs majority owner Dan Gilbert went when LBJ took his talents south: Come Back to Texas.

Prognostication:

The Cavs have posted a 43-116 record since LeBron left Cleveland. The Cavs have won one of their first seven games post James. Additionally, the light at the end of the tunnel - point guard Kyrie Irving - is out for a month. Look for Anderson Varejao to have a 20 point, 20 rebound game in a losing effort as Miami wins walking away, 107-92.

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