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Game Preview: Heat take on Cavaliers in "South Beach"

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The struggling Heat return home to face LeBron and the Cavs and continue the fight for the playoffs

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Game Story:

The Heat are at a crossroads, one road leads to an early rest and a possible lottery pick, while the other leads to a postseason seed.

Unfortunately for the Heat, every game is a must-win especially with Boston and Indiana surging as of recent weeks. Tonight's game will be a challenge, (even if LeBron James sits) but we should expect big games out of Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic.

Wade had this to say about tonight's game:

Wherever LeBron goes, attention follows, "The excitement of beating him and beating his teams is always going to be there. They're a totally different team the last time we played them (in Miami). We're a team fighting for the playoffs."

Game Analysis:

By Dylan Wang

The Miami Heat (29-36) take on LeBron James and Cleveland Cavaliers (43-25) tonight at home. In the past two games against each other, Miami beat Cleveland 101-91 on Christmas day but lost 93-113 in February. Since then, the Cleveland Cavaliers have improved greatly, winning 6 of their last 8 games in March. The Cavaliers' team chemistry has grown immensely and Kyrie Irving has been on fire lately, scoring 33 points and 57 points in the last 2 games.

In contrast, the Heat are improving but still finding their roles after experimenting with numerous starting lineups. Issues such as Hassan Whiteside's anger management and injuries hold Miami back from fully meshing together.

Facing James will always rile up Miami but things might turn in Miami's favor tonight since James tweaked his knee in the 3rd quarter against the Orlando Magic. James is probable at the moment but in the chance he chooses to sit out, the Cavaliers will face Miami without their leader who also acts as a glue guy that brings everyone together.

Whiteside's present will be crucial tonight. Iriving is one of the best finishers in the game and is not afraid to drive to the paint when a big man is guarding it. Kevin Love rested against Orlando and may not play tonight either if his back acts up again but nevertheless Miami needs to be keen on perimeter defense because sharpshooers J.R. Smith and Irving thrive on opponent's poor perimeter defense.

Zoran Dragic was recalled by the Heat from the D-league and may be able to show his shooting skills tonight. Beating Cleveland isn't impossible but Miami needs to step up their defense against the 3rd best offensive team in the league. Miami still has a chance to make it to the playoffs.

Game Fact:

The Heat have won eight straight against Cleveland when playing in Miami.

Probable Starters:


  • Luol Deng
  • Udonis Haslem
  • Hassan Whiteside
  • Dwyane Wade
  • Goran Dragic


  • LeBron James (questionable)
  • Kevin Love
  • Timofey Mozgov
  • J.R Smith
  • Kyrie Irving


Tip-Off 8:00pm

  • ESPN
  • Sun Sports
  • WTAM 100
  • 104.3 The Ticket
  • NBA TV Canada