The Miami Heat welcome back the Cleveland Cavaliers back to the American Airlines Arena, tonight at 7:30. Miami is right behind the Bulls in the Eastern Conference standings, while the Cavs sit in the number nine slot.
The Heat meet and greet (and beat) the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight at the AA Arena in South Florida. This is the second of three contests to be played in Miami between the two clubs this season, with the third happening on February 17th in Cleveland. Miami is finishing up a short two game homestand, having beaten the Toronto Raptors, 95-89 on Sunday. After tonight's game, they embark on a six city tour of the Eastern Conference, visiting the Orlando Magic, the Washington Wizards, the Atlanta Hawks, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Indiana Pacers before finishing up in Cleveland. Cleveland has been alternating home and road matchups since January 27th, going 2-3 over that time. After tonights game, they return to Cleveland for a nine game homestand against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Bucks, the Philadelphia 76ers, the Pacers, the Heat, the Sacramento Kings, the Detroit Pistons and the New Orleans Hornets before finishing up versus the Boston Celtics. Miami is 11-2 at home, while the Cavs come in with a 5-8 record on the road.
These teams last played in Miami 2 weeks ago, with Miami closing out the Cavs 92-85. Chris Bosh led the Heat with 35 points and seven boards while going a perfect 14-of-14 from the charity stripe. LeBron James pitched in 18, while Udonis Haslem grabbed 10 rebounds. Cleveland were paced by rookie Kyrie Irving's 17 points, while Anderson Varejao scored 11 points with 11 rebounds. Bosh stepped up in Dwyane Wade's absence from the floor in a big way.. When asked about this game Bosh had this to say, according to NBA.COM:
"Just playing the game. Shooting the ball without hesitation, my teammates finding me in the right spots. I just wanted to make sure that I pulled the trigger without kind of hesitating. They kept coming to me, they showed trust in me."
Miami is coming off a 95-89 victory against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday afternoon. LeBron James led Miami with 30 points and nine rebounds with two assists. It was the first time this season James didn't reach the 15 point, five rebound, five assist mark. Dwyane Wade added 25 points, while Mario Chalmers nailed 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. DeMar DeRozean led Cleveland with 25, while Jerryd Bayless and Linus Kleiza each pitched in 17. Erik Spoelstra spoke after the game, according to NBA.COM:
"We came into this game knowing we wouldn't be able to take any shortcuts and it would be a work game. We would have to work the game for 48 minutes. We knew we would face a lot of zone ... We will take this win and move on."
NBA CIRCLE - Toronto Raptors Vs Miami Heat Highlights Feb 05, 2012 Game Recap (via NBACIRCLE)
The Cavaliers are coming off a home court victory against the Dallas Mavericks, 91-88 on Saturday. Kyrie Irving led Cleveland with 20 points and seven assists, Antawn Jamison added 19, and Anderson Varejao scored 17 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 24 points and eight rebounds. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle spoke about Cavs rookie Irving after the game, according to NBA.COM:
"Irving is a very good young player, but we didn't guard him very well tonight. He'll be a foundation piece for more than a decade, for sure."
NBA CIRCLE - Dallas Mavericks Vs Cleveland Cavaliers Highlights Feb 04, 2012 Game Recap (via NBACIRCLE)
Miami Heat: 18-6, first in the Southeast Division, second in the Eastern Conference, third in the NBA. on pace for a 49-17 record. Last five games: W-W-L-W-W
Cleveland Cavaliers: 9-13, fourth in the Central Division, ninth in the Eastern Conference, 20th in the NBA, on pace for a 27-39 record. Last five games: L-W-L-L-W
Season Series: Miami, 1-0
All-Time Series: Miami, 46-39
Gametime: 7:30 EST