Miami Heat at Cleveland Cavaliers (-11.5, 194 o/u)
When LeBron James announced that he was taking his talents back to Northeast Ohio, Heat center Chris Bosh was confident his squad would remain a top team in the Eastern Conference.
Well, a little more than 50 games into the season, the Miami Heat (22-29, 13-14 away) have struggled with injuries and sub-par play. However, the team currently holds the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, and picked up an impressive 109-95 comeback win on Monday over the New York Knicks. The Heat trailed by as many as 14 points but Bosh led them all the way back with 32 points and six assists. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Miami.
“No matter what, as tough as it’s been on this team this season so far, we always come to play,” said Bosh after the game. “Guys want to win. Guys show up and compete, no matter what. That’s what I’ve loved about this group.”
The Heat will be in tough to make it two in a row tonight, as they’ll be missing Dwyane Wade (hamstring) and will be facing one of the hottest teams in the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers (32-21, 20-9 home). The Cavs had their 12-game winning streak snapped by Indiana on Friday. But they got back in the win column on the weekend with a convincing 120-105 win over the Lakers.
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the Cavs lately, though. The team is currently dealing with a media frenzy surrounding a controversial tweet by James. The four-time MVP implored some unspecified person (read: an under-performing Kevin Love) to get on the same page and create “something special.”
“Listen, I was caught off guard when I heard it,” Love said. “I talk to LeBron every day, we’re teammates. We see each other. There’s no problem with us. He said that if he had a problem with me or anybody on the team. He would go right to them. So, initially I was confused, but I don’t feel bad.
“I am just going out there to trying to help this team. There’s no problem with us, and I’m just going to keep saying that I am just trying to help this team. That’s all that matters.”
Internal strife aside, the Cavs are scoring 108.3 PPG over their last 14 contests, including a nine-game home winning streak. Despite Cleveland’s momentum, they are susceptible against a disciplined team (hence last week’s loss in Indiana).
That’s why the Heat and the points (+11.5) is the play.
(Photo credit: Keith Allison from Baltimore, USA (AAAA0584) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)