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Game #74: Miami Heat (51-22) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (14-58)

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It's been a while since LeBron James made his first return to Cleveland, and I'm sure that there are more then a few Cavs fans that are ready for round 2.  It was quite the spectacle back in early December, and while the Quicken Loans faithful showered the hate down on LeBron, he responded by dropping 38 points on the Cavaliers...in 3 quarters. 

The loss sent Cleveland on a downward spiral of epic proportions as they went on to lose 34 of their next 35 games.  The Heat went in the opposite direction, boasting a 41-14 record since the 28-point drubbing of the Cavs.  LeBron will be the first to tell you that the win at the Q definitely helped the team bond, and his teammates all agree.

Members of the Cavaliers were highly criticized after James' first visit because they were nice to him, even after he was playfully taunting them during the game.  The following two contests that came in Miami were quite different as LeBron wasn't shown much love from his former teammates, and that kind of reception is expected tonight in Cleveland. 

Miami has been rolling lately and are now tied with 2nd place Boston and 2 games back of East leading Chicago after both teams lost on Monday.  The Celtics have been struggling quite a bit lately and could only come up with 15 points in the 4th quarter of a loss to the Pacers.  The Bulls loss came at home, which is rare this season, to the surging 76ers.

GAME NOTES

  • Miami has won 5 straight games and 8 of their last 9. 
  • Cleveland has lost 9 of 10 and are just 7-47 since the Heat last paid them a visit. 
  • Speaking of that first visit, for those wondering there was only one arrest and less then five ejections. 
  • The Heat has won all three meetings against Cleveland this year. 
  • The Cavs had swept the Heat in two of the last three seasons. 
  • Udonis Haslem (foot), Mario Chalmers (knee) and Dexter Pittman (knee) are out for the Heat.  Pittman has been given clearance to resume on-court activity though. 
  • Antawn Jamison (foot), Semih Erden (hip) and Anderson Varejao (ankle) are all out for the Cavaliers. 

Tipoff from the Q is set for 7pm.  This is the 2nd to last time that Miami will play a back-to-back this season.  They head to DC right after the game for a matchup with the Wizards tomorrow.