LeBron James dunks the ball. - Mike Ehrmann
The Heat look like a vastly superior team than the one that needed a clutch Ray Allen 3 to beat the Cavs in November.
After going a perfect 4-0 on its recent road trip -- with wins over Oklahoma City, Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia -- the Miami Heat will return home to host the Cleveland Cavaliers at 6 p.m. to complete a four-games-in-five-nights stretch. Right now, Miami looks so much better than the team that needed a Ray Allen 3 in the final minute to defeat a Kyrie Irving - less Cavaliers team early in the season.
Miami is currently riding a 10-game winning streak, having only lost one game this month. All the criticism of Miami's defensive slippage and lack of rebounding has dissipated because the Heat players have corrected those problems. The Heat remained competitive with the Chicago Bulls in the rebounding column Thursday, and held the Thunder offense in check for three quarters Feb. 14. The Heat simply look like a dominant team that can easily get back to the Finals. Now that the entire Big Three -- not just LeBron James -- play efficiently, and Allen and Shane Battier make 3s, Miami looks unbeatable.
Miami defeated the Cavaliers 110-108 Nov. 24, and it's somewhat surprising that a Cleveland team without Irving could've scored 108 points in regulation. Tristan Thompson made six of seven shots that night, and Chris Bosh will have to keep the double-double threat in check. Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole will have their hands full with Irving, who can hit the 3 with ease and blow by opponents and get to the rim. He'll probably be the best point guard in the NBA in two years, and I'd like to see James guard him if the game is close. Miami is playing its fourth game in five nights, but at least the starters rested in the fourth quarter last night. Although the Cavaliers are headed for the lottery for the third consecutive year, those players will get up tonight.
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