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PreHeat: Cleveland Cavaliers (8-39) at Miami Heat (33-14)

Home Away
Miami Cleveland
Heat Cavaliers
33-14 Record 8-39
(5th of 30) 110.8 Off Rtg 99.7 (30th of 30)
(3rd of 30) 102.2 Def Rtg 111.9 (30th of 30)
(20th of 30) 91.1 Pace 93.6 (10th of 30)
(10th of 30)101.3 Pts/G 93.5 (28th of 30)
(5th of 30) 94.0 Opp Pts/G 104.9 (25th of 30)
Likely Starters
Mario Chalmers PG Ramon Sessions
Dwyane Wade SG Manny Harris
Lebron James SF Christian Eyenga
Chris Bosh PF Antawn Jamison
Zydrunas Ilgauskas C J.J. Hickson
James Jones 6th Daniel Gibson
Matchup Series 2-0
American Airlines Arena
7:30 PM EST
Sun Sports / 790 AM
Injury Report:
Heat: U. Haslem (out indefinitely)
Cavs: Williams,Varejao (out indefinitely), Powe (6 wks), Gibson (D2D)
` The Heat return to Miami to host the Cleveland Cavaliers, currently the worst team in the league if judged by record, active talent level, or any numerical calculation of their output data. Their last victory came on December 18th (44 days ago) in an overtime victory over the Knicks. They've amassed 20 straight losses and 23 consecutive road losses, both a franchise record. It's the perfect setup for a rare upset! Games of this disproportionate nature can be the Heat's worst enemy, perfect for lethargy to kick in a mere 24 hours after expending notable efforts in overcoming the athletic Thunder. Folks will commonly say that everyone is a professional in this league but realistically, it's a far-fetched idea. The Heat would have to try hard to lose this game. Harder than the Cavaliers might already be trying to, if you get my drift. There isn't much to say about the Cavaliers that will make a difference. LeBron's departure and the drop-off from best record to worst only compounds the argument for his strong candidacy for the MVP award. The team's main protagonists, Mo and Varejao, have fallen to injuries and the materialization of any mysterious health hindrance that could cause Jamison to miss the rest of the season would not be entirely shocking. That or a trade for youth and picks. Ethan Strauss over at Hoopspeak tells Cleveland to thank James for making them terrible, giving them a chance to reset and start over. Unfortunately for Cleveland, scouts worldwide point toward a lack of a elite talent in this year's draft. GMs across the league are struggling to find a player who would deserve to be a #1 pick, a "franchise player", one who can single handedly turn the franchise around the likes of LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, etc. In previous drafts with a dry pool, the Raptors ended up with Bargnani in '06, the Wizards with Kwame Brown in '01 and the Clippers with Olowakandi in 98'. A #1 pick in the draft is not a sure thing for the likely-to-be worst team in the league this year but even if so, it might not make a Lebronic difference (Yes, I just wanted to turn his name into a verb). Miami might have only won 15 games just 4 years ago, but hope was easy to come by when a Dwyane Wade was a Heat on the sidelines. For Cleveland, it will take time, luck, a few tweaks and a sporadic miracle to regain their basketball composure. Be a friend and when you see a Clevelander, appreciate the possible dynasty that's landed in Miami and give them a hug or a pat on the back. In the famous words of Michael Jackson and now applied to our general affection for the game: "With the love."