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HHH GameTime Preview: The Return of the King

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The HEAT will host LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers this afternoon at five.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Today at 5PM, the Heat will host the Cleveland Cavaliers at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, FL. This will be the first of four matchups this season between LeBron James' current and former team. There's a return trip to South Beach on March 16th, as well as two games in Cleveland on February 11th and on April 2nd.

Miami is playing in the fifth game of a seven game homestand. They lost the first two, 105-87 to the Utah Jazz and 105-103 to the Washington Wizards before earning a 100-84 win over the Boston Celtics on Sunday. They dropped a 91-87 decision to the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday. They'll finish up the homestand with the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday and the Orlando Magic on Monday.

The Cavs just closed out a five game homestand of their own, going 4-1 over the last week. They are opening up a short two game Florida roadtrip. They'll take on the Magic tomorrow night.

The last time Miami played the Cavaliers was on March 18th, in Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH. Each team looked very different than they do now, and the HEAT cruised to a 100-96 victory behind 43 points (on 14-of-19 shooting), six boards, four assists, three blocks and two steals from LeBron James. Chris Bosh added 21 points and six rebounds, and Ray Allen threw down 14 off the bench. James also made six-of-eight three-pointers in the win. The Cavs countered with six players in double figures, led by Jarrett Jack's 22 points, four rebounds and four assists. Dion Waiters had 17 points with 11 helpers, and Anderson Varejao came off the pine for 16 points and 11 rebounds. * Box Score * Full Recap

When we started the game off, I felt like I could have went for 50 or 60 points. I was just in one of those zones. It's a great feeling. I shot the ball really well in warmups, and I was able to transfer it into a game situation. - James, with his trademark humility on full display

Fear The Sword has the Cavs.

On December 23rd, the HEAT played three good quarters before allowing the NBA-worst Philadelphia 76ers to sneak out of South Beach with a 91-87 win. Michael Carter-Williams led the Sixers with 20 points, six steals and five assists, and Luc Mbah a Moute had 19 points with six rebounds. Dwyane Wade had 23 points with six assists and five rebounds in the loss for the HEAT, and Shawne Williams had 17 with five rebounds. * Box Score * Full Recap

It ain't going to get no worse than this. - Wade, in succinct manner.

For more on the Sixers, check out Liberty Ballers.

Cleveland earned a win in their last game, 125-104 over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Kyrie Irving had 29 points on 12-of-19 shooting, James scored 24, and Kevin Love had 20 with 10 rebounds. Waiters had 19 in relief. Minnesota countered with 27 from Andre Wiggins, 20 points and 11 rebounds from Gorgui Dieng, and 18 points with six rebounds from Shabazz Muhammad. * Box Score * Full Recap

I didn't really feel much of anything to be honest with you. It felt like just another game. It was a game we felt like we needed to win before going to South Florida for Christmas. - Love, facing his former team

Canis Hoopus has all the TWolves that you could possibly need.

GameTime: 5PM ET

Where2Watch: ABC, TV Companion, TSN

All-Time Series: Miami has a 55-to-39 edge over the Cavs in forever, their eighth best record against any team. The HEAT have won the last 11 meetings between the two, and 14-of-15 overall while James was with Miami.

Current Series

Miami HEAT: 13-16, .448, on pace for a 37-45 season. Firmly in third in the Southeast Division, seventh in the Eastern Conference (.004 ahead of the eighth-place Brooklyn Nets), tied (with the Oklahoma City Thunder) for 16th in the NBA. Last Five: W-L-L-W-L. Playoff Odds: 45.3%

Cleveland Cavaliers: 17-10, .630, on pace for a 52-30 season. Second in the Central Division (1.5 games behind the Chicago Bulls), fifth in the Eastern Conference (one of five EC teams over .500), 11th in the NBA (.009 ahead of the San Antonio Spurs). Last Five: W-L-W-W-W. Playoff Odds: 99.8%


Dwyane Wade needs 40 to break the 18,000 point barrier. Three three-pointers will move Wade into a seventh place tie with LeBron James, with 365.

Chris Andersen needs 29 free throws to reach 1,000. Three from the stripe will tie him in 42nd on Miami's all-time leaderboard with Dorell Wright. He needs six blocks to tie him with Glen Rice in 16th, with 159.

If somebody picks up Josh Smith, the guy only needs one steal for 1,000. Just sayin'.

I know Chris Bosh is not playing, but he's only eight blocks short of 900. One more point will tie him with Grant Long, in ninth all-time with 5,473.

Mario Chalmers needs to play four more games to tie Grant Long in sixth all-time with his 472nd appearance.

Norris Cole needs nine field goals to tie Billy Owens in 32nd on Miami's all-time leaderboard, at 642. He needs four triples to match Ricky Davis in 28th, with his 136th. Six steals will move him into a tie for 20th with 212, with Caron Butler. He needs two points to tie Kevin Willis in 31st, with 1,591, and three to tie Billy Owens in 30th.

Shawne Williams needs one three-pointer to tie Yakhouba Diawara in 49th with his 52nd. He needs four to tie Kevin Edwards, five for Walt Williams, and seven for Terry Porter.

Udonis Haslem finally moved into sole possession of 10th on Miami's all-time blocks list, with 234. He needs eight more to tie Billy Thompson in ninth.

Common Thread

It's not just LeBron James making a return to Miami. Outside threat James Jones and all-around threat Mike Miller also fill Cleveland's roster.


Washington Wizards (19-8) vs. New York Knicks (5-25), 12PM
Oklahoma City Thunder (13-16) vs. San Antonio Spurs (18-11), 2:30PM
Los Angeles Lakers (9-19) vs. Chicago Bulls (19-9), 8PM
Golden State Warriors (23-4) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (19-10), 10:30PM

Come back to HHH sometime around 5ish for the GameThread, and check the recap soon after the final horn.