Cavaliers at Heat
There is not much left over with the Cleveland Cavaliers from when LeBron James was around. Even the No. 1 pick that the Cavaliers received after stumbling in the wake of James’ departure, Kyrie Irving, is out with a finger injury. Cleveland is building an exciting young team but it has yet to gel on the defensive end, allowing an East-worst 101.5 points. James and the Miami Heat, who host the Cavaliers on Saturday, lead the NBA in scoring.
James got his championship last spring and the Heat are one of the strongest teams in the NBA again. Miami has won three straight and leads the Southeast Division thanks to an offense that is putting up 104.3 points. James is one of the top individual scorers in the league and continues to round out the other factors of his game. One of his few former teammates still left in Cleveland, Anderson Varejao, is on the uptick as well and provides one of the few bright spots for the Cavaliers.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Ohio (Cleveland), Sun Sports (Miami)
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (3-9): Irving is well on his way to becoming one of the better point guards in the league but has also been one of the most injury-prone, and will miss the next month with a fractured finger. Cleveland snapped a six-game slide with a 92-83 victory against Philadelphia without Irving on Wednesday but fell right back into their defense-less ways at Orlando on Friday. The Magic scored 63 points in the second half to record a 108-104 decision. Varejao collected 19 points and 17 rebounds in the setback and has recorded three straight double-doubles.
ABOUT THE HEAT (9-3): Miami has yet to lose at AmericanAirlines Arena and is averaging 115.8 points in its own facility. After a six-game road trip, the Heat returned to South Beach on Wednesday and needed overtime to escape from the Milwaukee Bucks with a 113-106 triumph. James collected 28 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in that contest and has recorded nine double-doubles (points and rebounds or points and assists). Dwyane Wade appears to be fully recovered from a foot injury that kept him out for two games last week. He scored 28 points in 38 minutes against Milwaukee.
1. James has averaged 25.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 7.0 assists in seven career games against his former team.
2. Miami has taken three straight overall in the series and four in a row at home.
3. Cleveland rookie G Dion Waiters is averaging 20.5 points in two games without Irving in the lineup.