Miami Heat vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Preview and Predictions 11-14-2019
The Miami Heat are battling an injury bug but continue to find ways to thrive while mixing lineups. The Heat will try to put up another high assist total and earn another win when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday.
Miami was missing Justise Winslow (concussion), Tyler Herro (hamstring), James Johnson (illness) and KZ Okpala (Achilles) on Tuesday but managed to hand out 34 assists on 41 made field goals – led by star swingman Jimmy Butler’s 13 assists – and held off Detroit 117-108 to improve to their best 10-game start since 2013 at 7-3. “We’ve built a locker room this year where we believe in each other, we trust each other to make the right play and, as you said, Jimmy is making the right play,” forward Bam Adebayo told reporters. “It’s not all about one guy on this team. Everybody had big nights out of nowhere, so just find the hot hand.” The Cavaliers were on the verge of a three-game winning streak before falling just short in a 98-97 setback at Philadelphia on Tuesday as Kevin Love’s attempted game-winner was off the mark. “I’m still in disbelief,” Love told reporters. “I knew when it left my hand, I thought it was good, everyone on the team thought it was good. That’s why I just threw my hands on the top of my head.”
TV: 6 p.m. ET, FS Sun (Miami), FS Ohio (Cleveland)
ABOUT THE HEAT (7-3): Butler worked to get his teammates involved early on Tuesday and finished with a season high in assists while adding 20 points. “He just really controlled the entire game in the fourth quarter offensively for us,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters of Butler. “He choreographed basically every action. Either we got him in the middle against the zone or had him handle up top versus the man or zone going down the stretch. He just reads the game and plays the right way, even when there’s some stress and pressure and some tough possessions and the momentum shifting.” Adebayo added 18 points and a season-high 14 rebounds on Tuesday for his fifth double-double.
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (4-6): Cleveland is in a rebuilding year but continues to play hard and has already pushed East contenders like Boston and Philadelphia to the final buzzer. “Things are slowly coming together. I feel that we’re moving in the right direction,” Cavaliers coach John Beilein told cleveland.com. “I love some of the leadership that we are getting, and I love the progression of the young guys. It’s never fast enough for me. It’s never fast enough for them. They all want to be stars and I want them to be really good as a team and do it fast too. But it is positive right now.” Second-year guard Collin Sexton is coming along fast and followed up a 31-point outburst in a win at New York on Sunday with 18 points against the 76ers.
1. Heat rookie SG Kendrick Nunn scored 20 points on Tuesday – his fourth 20-plus effort.
2. Cavaliers C Tristan Thompson collected 17 points and 12 rebounds on Tuesday for his eight double-double in 10 games.
3. Miami swept the four-game series last season by an average of 17.8 points.
PREDICTION: Miami Heat 106:101 Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers, often referred to as the Cavs, are an American professional basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavs compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Eastern Conference Central Division. The team began play as an expansion team in 1970, along with the Portland Trail Blazers and Buffalo Braves. Home games were first held at Cleveland Arena from 1970 to 1974, followed by the Richfield Coliseum from 1974 to 1994. Since 1994, the Cavs have played home games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in downtown Cleveland, which is shared with the Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena Football League and the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League. Dan Gilbert has owned the team since March 2005.
The Cavaliers opened their inaugural season losing their first 15 games and struggled in their early years, placing no better than sixth in the Eastern Conference during their first five seasons. The team won their first Central Division title in 1976, which also marked the first winning season and playoff appearance in franchise history, where they advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. The franchise was purchased by Ted Stepien in 1980. Stepien’s tenure as owner was marked by six coaching changes, questionable trades and draft decisions, and poor attendance, leading to $15 million in financial losses. The Cavs went 66–180 in that time and endured a 24-game losing streak spanning the 1981–82 and 1982–83 seasons.
George and Gordon Gund purchased the franchise in 1983. During the latter half of the 1980s and through much of the 1990s, the Cavs were a regular playoff contender, led by players such as Mark Price and Brad Daugherty, and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1992. After the team’s playoff appearance in 1998, however, the Cavs had six consecutive losing seasons with no playoff action. Cleveland was awarded with the top overall pick in the 2003 draft, and they selected LeBron James. Behind James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the Cavaliers again became a regular playoff contender by 2005. They made their first appearance in the NBA Finals in 2007 after winning the first Eastern Conference championship in franchise history. After failing to return to the NBA Finals in the ensuing three seasons, James joined the Miami Heat in 2010. As a result, the Cavaliers finished the 2010–11 season last in the conference, enduring a 26-game losing streak that, as of 2017, ranks as the longest in NBA history for a single season and second overall. Between 2010 and 2014, however, the team won the top pick in the NBA draft lottery three times, first in 2011 where they selected Kyrie Irving, and again in 2013 and 2014.
LeBron James returned to the Cavs in 2014 and led the team to four straight NBA Finals appearances. In 2016, the Cavaliers won their first NBA Championship, marking Cleveland’s first major sports title since 1964. The 2016 NBA Finals victory over the Golden State Warriors marked the first time in Finals history a team had come back to win the series after trailing three games to one. The Cavaliers have made 22 playoff appearances, and won seven Central Division titles, five Eastern Conference titles, and one NBA title.