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Game Preview: Heat host Cavaliers looking for another big playoff push win

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The Heat have moved into the eighth seed and need to win games like these to stay in the hunt.

NBA: Miami Heat at Cleveland Cavaliers
Jan 25, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson (0) drives to the basket against Cleveland Cavaliers guard Alec Burks (10) during the first quarter at Quicken Loans Arena.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat (30-34) take on the Cleveland Cavaliers (16-49) on Friday night at the AmericanAirlines Arena looking to extend their recent hot run and further strengthen their playoff hopes. The Heat have been excellent of late and finally seem to have put their home court woes behind them.

Having won four of the last five, Miami is riding a three-game win streak which has seen them play some of their best basketball of the season. During those five games, the team has been averaging 113.3 points per game while only giving up 106.2. What’s more, they have held their opponents to just 42.2 percent shooting from the field while averaging a red hot league-best with 49.5.

So with the team firing on all cylinders at the perfect time, a game against an awful Cleveland team should be a straight forward job. The Cavaliers sit on the league’s third-worst record with a winning percentage of 24.6 percent, which is only just ahead of the New York Knicks for dead last.

Despite their terrible record 16-49, Miami shouldn’t take Cleveland lightly, and the recent return of All-Star big man Kevin Love has given them a small but much-needed boost. Since his comeback from injury, Cavs have gone 5-3 while Love has averaged 18.8 points and 10.4 rebounds, both of which lead his team.

Cleveland’s last game was against the Brooklyn Nets, which was also a contest that they lost, going down 107-113. Love top-scored for the Cavs with 24 and 16, with the latter being a game-high. Guard David Nwaba also had a significant contribution off the bench with his 22 points, but it was ultimately not enough to overcome the 25 and 28 from Brooklyn’s D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie respectively.

The game will be the fourth and final meeting between the two teams this season, with Miami winning all three previous match ups. Heat also hold an overall winning record vs. the Cavs of 66-44 and is 42-13 in games played at the AmericanAirlines Arena. Erik Spoelstra’s team have also beaten Cleveland in a franchise record fifteen straight games at home.

Probable Starters:

Heat: Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters, Josh Richardson, Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo

Cavs: Collin Sexton, Brandon Knight, Cedi Osman, Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr.

Injury Report:

Heat: Goran Dragic (Calf) - Game Time Decision

Cavs: Matthew Dellavedova (Concussion) - Out, Tristan Thompson (Foot) - Out, Ante Zizic (Concussion) - Doubtful, John Henson (Wrist) - Out

Broadcast Info:

Tip-Off: 8.00pm

TV: Fox Sports Sun (Eric Reid, John Crotty, Jason Jackson)

Radio: The Ticket 790AM & The HEAT Radio Network (Mike Inglis)

Spanish Radio: WAQI 710AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda)