The Miami Heat will play their last game at the AAA for a while tonight, when they welcome the Cleveland Cavaliers to South Florida. After this game the Heat will hit the road for one of the quickest 6-game road trips you'll ever see. Starting on Wednesday, the Heat will play 6 games in 10 days, including their one and only back-to-back-to-back set of the lockout shortened season.
The Cavaliers come into Miami still in rebuilding mode. They have been reaping the benefits of having the #1 pick in last years draft, with rookie Kyrie Irving playing extremely well. He has helped them graduate from an Eastern Conference worst 19-wins last season to a 9-13 record this year, and more importantly in the hunt for a playoff spot (½ game behind 8th place Milwaukee).
Miami meanwhile is a game and a half behind Chicago for the top spot in the East, with the two teams holding the same amount of losses (6) but the Bulls with three more wins then the Heat. Miami continues to lead the league in scoring, putting up 103.2 points per game. They also lead the league in shooting, hitting 48.5% of their field goals.
The Heat come into this game winners of five straight games at home and hold one of the best home records in the league (11-2). In their last two wins, Miami has gotten some attention for the lineup they have used in the final minutes. Their ‘Big 5' lineup consists of LeBron, Chris Bosh, D-Wade, Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller, and they have closed out the Heat's last two victories.
Since LeBron brought his talents to South Beach, Miami has gone 4-1 against his former team. He didn't have one of his best games of the season when the teams met a couple weeks ago, but still managed 18 points on 8-of-21 shooting. Even though last season wasn't long ago at all, James is still downplaying going up against his former club. Said LeBron:
"It's not as big as it was last year of course. Each game it kind of goes away. But it's always fun going against your old teammates."
- Miami is 11-2 at home. The Cavs are 5-8 on the road.
- Cleveland is fresh off a 91-88 road win over the defending champion Dallas Mavericks.
- The Heat are 46-39 all-time against the Cavaliers, and have gone 30-13 in games played in Miami.
- Cleveland is the third worst free-throw shooting team in the NBA, making just 69.9% of their foul shots this season.
- Cavs rookie Kyrie Irving leads all first year players, averaging 18.1 points per game and is shooting 50.0% from the field.
- The Heat list Mike Miller (hand) as day-to-day.
- As for Cleveland, Daniel Gibson (neck), Anthony Parker (back) and Tristan Thompson (ankle) are out.
- Miami will once again dawn their Miami Floridians uniforms as they continue to pay tribute to the ABA.
Tipoff from the AAA is set for 7:30pm. The game will be broadcast locally on Sun Sports.