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Game #50: Miami Heat (24-25) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (39-11)

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Well, the good thing about these back-to-backs is that we get to quickly put games behind us (like the one last night in Boston) and move on.  Unfortunately, on this particular occasion the Heat get to move on to Cleveland.  The Cavs are holding the best record in the NBA and have lost at home a mere 3 times.  That is particularly impressive when you realize that they started out the season dropping two of their first four home games.  Since their home loss to Chicago on November 5th, Cleveland is 18-1 at Quicken Loans Arena.

This will be the 3rd and final regular season meeting between the two teams, but who knows...we could be seeing a potential 1st round preview.  The Heat's most recent plunge has dropped them to 7th place; just .001 ahead of 8th place Chicago.  Fortunately, there is a 2-game cushion between 8th and 9th place so at least for now the Heat are somewhat safe in the playoff picture, but who knows how long that will last.

One thing that made me laugh was reading about how suddenly Shaquille O'Neal is playing better, seemingly out of nowhere.  Same old immature Shaq, playing hard when he feels like it.  It's a good thing that he spent most of the 1st half of the season going through the motions, otherwise he might not be playing so well right now.  What really cracked me up were the comments made by LeBron.  It's funny just to read, but it's hilarious if James is being serious...

"He looks great.  He's motivated.  When Mo (Williams) and Delonte (West) went down he decided to step his game up, which we knew he could do.  He's just playing with a little bounce in his step that he didn't have at the start.  But he had a different mindset than we all thought. We all thought he was playing slow, he was just saving himself for the second half of the season.  He tricked all of us, I guess."

Ok, he can't be serious.  Just reading that quote over again makes me literally laugh out loud.  Did his teammates really think he was playing ‘slow'?  Was it his plan to just ‘trick' his teammates into thinking that he sucked so that he could suddenly show up, half way through the season, and play well for what I'd guess will be a short period of time?  Whatever the case may be, I find it very funny. 

GAME NOTES

  • Miami has lost five straight games in Cleveland spanning the last 3 seasons, unable to crack 90 points in any of those games.  
  • After making just 33% of his shots in the two games against Milwaukee, D-Wade went 11-for-16 last night in Boston. 
  • Wade also had 13 assists, a new season-high.  The problem, however, is that that nobody else on the team had more then 3.  Wade 13, rest of team 9. 
  • After their loss in Boston last night, he Heat are now below .500 for the first time this season.  Remember, they started the year 6-1.  Since then they have gone 18-24, a win percentage of .428, which would place them just outside of the playoffs. 
  • The Cavs are winners of 9 straight, but will be without guards Delonte West (finger) and Mo Williams (shoulder).  Also sitting out is forward Leon Powe (knee). 
  • For the Heat, Mario Chalmers will miss his 3rd straight game with his thumb injury.  As much as it pains me to say so...the Heat have dropped every game since Rio went down. 
  • Everyone's favorite stat, the Heat is 2-7 on the 2nd night of back-to-back's. 

Tipoff from The Q is at 8pm and the game will be nationally televised on TNT.  One of the coolest things they have inside Quicken Loans Arena is their pretzels, which are (of course) shaped like Q's.  That is always the first thing I think of when the subject of The Q comes up.  Lets Go Heat!!!