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PREVIEW: Shorthanded Heat to battle Cleveland in potential 1st round matchup

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The Heat are 2-1 vs. the Cavs this season

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
The perpetually shorthanded Heat (34-40) will attempt to distance themselves from surging Brooklyn and maintain their hold on the 7th seed as they take on Cleveland (48-27). Miami, however, may be without Dwyane Wade tonight as he recovers from the flu that has recently sidelined F/C Udonis Haslem as well.

The good news is that F Luol Deng will make his return tonight after missing time with a knee injury. He'll be needed to guard LeBron James who struggled in his last matchup vs. Deng and the Miami frontline, shooting 8-19 from the field.

The Cavs may be without two of their big three big as well with Kyrie Irving (illness) and Kevin Love (back) also questionable tonight. Both clubs have starting lineups that are pretty much up in the air at this point, but as long as LeBron James is suiting up, the Cavs remain a formidable bunch.

Tipoff is set for 8:00 PM. TNT will air the nationally televised game.